genre: Nonfiction

The Lid and the Jar

By Elisha Emerson   

You held my eyes from the back of Advanced Studies of Dramatic Literature as if you were a tousled debauchee from an unrated foreign film, the kind with a sophisticated plot line, sure, but also plenty of straps, leather, and velvet. Years after our son’s autism diagnosis and days after your own, we sit at… Read more »


Poison

By Lynda Rushing   

It’s morning and I am about to open the refrigerator when I see my mother squatting on the floor, shaking a thin line of white powder along the baseboards. Her face is furrowed in concentration, her forehead slicked with sweat. I’m ten, it’s the first day of summer vacation, 1967, and a long stretch of… Read more »


On Raising Black Children in Whitopia

By Julia McKenzie Munemo   

We sit in a line on a bench in Washington Square Park, my first son, me, my second son. Suitcases flank us—two of us are headed to the train station and on back home. One of us will stay here in the city of his birth. I can’t hear their voices because what I’m thinking… Read more »


Pea Princess

By Lisa K. Buchanan   

A former public-school teacher, she was fluent in multiple languages and said she had a graduate degree. Born into the post-war prosperity of the 1950s, she was raised in an upscale San Francisco neighborhood, three generations of her family in the same single-family Edwardian, recently valued at up to four-million dollars. Her father had been… Read more »


20 Infusions

By Diana Tokaji   

  Pliny, the Elder, a Roman naturalist (AD 23-79), believed Borage, or Starflower, to be an anti-depressant, and it has long been thought to give courage and comfort to the heart.    20 Infusions   1. Suddenly I cannot imagine offering my arm. The German nurse with her V-neck whites, her fair hair and kind… Read more »


Fugitive in the Woods

By Ashley Memory   

The first day I ever heard the name Cody Lee Moffitt was in late January. I’d just finished a lunch of peanut butter and crackers when my phone beeped. A friend, Ray Kearns, had posted a note on our church’s message board. There’s a man on the loose who wrecked on Gopher Lane. Drug deal… Read more »


Family Poker

By Amory Rowe Salem   

1. My father was twelve when he learned that his mother had kept a part of herself hidden. Five of them were standing at a Customs desk at Orly airport in Paris in 1957: my father, his older brother, his younger sister, their parents. The Customs officer held the family’s passports like a royal flush,… Read more »


The Takeover

By Zibiquah Denny   

  “It’s more than just a rock to us, it’s a stepping stone to a better future.” –John Trudell as told to a reporter after the takeover of Alcatraz Island                   They kicked in the doors at the crack of dawn. It was the first direct action by the Milwaukee American Indian Movement (AIM)… Read more »


The First Time I Told Someone

By Richard Jeffrey Newman   

  1. I never knew his name. When I picture him now, I see a man somewhere between my age—I’m fifty-nine—and ten or fifteen years younger. I don’t think of myself as old, but I think of him as “the old man in my building,” because that’s what he looked like to my twelve-year-old eyes.… Read more »


Half Empty, Half Full

By Lena (Sunada-Matsumura) Newlin   

  Two halves.  Together do they make a whole?  United, do they intertwine, mix, meld?  Half.  Can half alone, by itself, be whole?  Can half be complete?  What do you get if you double half?  Is there such a thing as a whole half?  What does it feel like to be half?  What does it… Read more »


A Fable for Yesterday

By Alexis Lathem   

  There is a farm in the heart of the Green Mountains that sits by a winding road near a bend in the river, its two-hundred-year-old brick house lording over the valley, a backdrop of forested mountains behind it. It is nestled in the landscape, as a New England farm is supposed to be. A… Read more »


Waiting for the Bees

Waiting for the Bees

By Trisha M. Cowen   

May 27, 2020 Today, we dig. Bees circle our heads and our hands, inspecting our movements in the grass, their grass. Ella, my fairy-like child, wants to plant a whole field of sunflowers on our front lawn. We have purchased a single pack of seeds. Perhaps it is too late in the season to plant… Read more »


Figure Out the Damn Year

Figure Out the Damn Year

By Dave King   

“Oh, wow,” says my husband. “I blacked out.” He and I are sprawled on our bed; we’ve just had sex, and I’ve got my arm around him. “You dozed off,” I say. “Both of us did.” It’s the Monday after Pandemic Thanksgiving, a gray day in upstate New York. A kitty circles the bed, the… Read more »


Care and Keeping

Care and Keeping

By Jen Dupree   

You’ve been having some trouble with your bowels, so we’re at the gastroenterologist’s office. The nurse leads us into an exam room and says, “Okay, just hop up on the table.” I laugh because I think she’s making a joke. It’s clear you can’t hop. If she looked closely, or looked at you at all,… Read more »


Two Lives

Two Lives

By Clara Bosak-Schroeder   

I came to the Brooklyn Museum to see Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party but it was the work of Judith Scott that stopped me in my tracks. I do not like sculpture much, I do not know how to feel about it. My mother had died three years before and I was thinking of her when… Read more »


If You Don’t Know Me by Now

If You Don’t Know Me by Now

By Celeste Mohammed   

I was initially surprised when the Solidarity Book Project, which is a social justice initiative of Amherst College, Massachusetts, invited me, a Trinidadian writer, to contribute to a communal monument to solidarity. However, when I read the Project’s espoused aim of pushing against legacies of anti-Black racism and settler colonialism, I had to concede the… Read more »


The Price of Membership

The Price of Membership

By Jane Shiau   

In 2014, my parents announced they were leaving Massachusetts and retiring to California. I marched into my therapist’s office and flung myself onto the couch to cry. I couldn’t believe they were abandoning me. Worst of all, I told my therapist, was that now I was going to have to be an adult and buy… Read more »


The Seminarian and the Sex Worker

The Seminarian and the Sex Worker

By Lance F Mullins   

I am a Christian minister who once spent the night with a sex worker named Adam. Although, to be technical about it, I was a first-year seminarian – not yet a card-carrying minister – when I spent the night with this sex worker. And since we’re being technical, I didn’t actually spend the night with… Read more »


That Night

By Jill Frances Johnson   

We’d driven north for five hours straying off the highway to admire the countryside along billboard-free roads. I’d point to white houses with green trim, that one, like that, imagining a future when we’d own a house instead of renting. Thom’s new broadcaster’s license was in his pocket. One suitcase, orange crates of LP records… Read more »


Plaque

By Robbie Gamble   

We didn’t arrange for a week of travel in the south of Wales in order to trail in some literary wake of Dylan Thomas. Anna wanted to relive some of her travels during her university days at Cambridge, and she thought I would be thrilled with the opportunity to hike through rugged greening landscapes. But… Read more »


Portrait of the Artist as a Black Man

By Herb Harris   

  When you turn the corner And you run into yourself Then you know that you have turned All the corners that are left Langston Hughes     The more I stared at the drawing, the more alien and unrecognizable it became. I had labored over every line, but it was not the person I… Read more »


The Heaviness of Hair

By Roz Roseboro   

                                                                                                              “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown” Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2   I swirl my Sonicare in small circles to remove the invisible plaque the dentist assures me is there. Diligent dental hygiene practices seem a small price to pay to have my natural teeth for the rest of my… Read more »


A Letter for David Buckel

A Letter for David Buckel

By Steve Fellner   

–LGBT civil rights lawyer and environmental activist David Buckel engaged in self-immolation to protest using fossil fuels for their destruction of global welfare. I dream of sounds: a body burning in the middle of Brooklyn Park, gasoline dousing the body of a man, the light, the flame, the drop of a plastic Ziploc bag on… Read more »


The Chess Players of Dupont Circle & I

By Kerrie L. Kemperman   

Through the mist, Washington, DC’s stately lamp-lit brownstones and tree-lined streets could have been Paris — I was far from the wild woods, tilled acres, and sturdy farmhouses of my rural childhood. With a fluttering in my ribcage, I felt giddy going outside into the night, alone with my umbrella. When the mist changed to… Read more »


Endure, My Heart

By Michael Sheehan   

ἀλκὴν δ’ εὐδόκιμον Μαραθώνιον ἄλσος ἂν εἴποι   The last time I spoke to my uncle Lary was on January 19, 1992, the day before he was to go into surgery. It was an operation he wouldn’t wake up from. He was having his hip replaced, one of a series of surgeries he’d had. He… Read more »


Letter to My Black Daughter

By Kerry Herlihy   

Dear One, In the first hours after you were born in a small hospital on the coast of Maine, I traced my fingers around the gray-blue birthmark that looked like a map of America bleeding into your back. I felt your cheek and puckered lips on my naked chest and all I once knew dissolved… Read more »


Let us Pray, Like, Let us all Pray

By Elisha Emerson   

1. A cousin second-removed asks me to pray for her in a Facebook comment, and I nurse indignation for days. She reaches out kindly enough, to express support for my youngest son whose Zoom-accessible play I’ve advertised on social media. She says she’d love to watch, asks me how I am (It’s been years!) and… Read more »


How to Be Happy When Your Favorite Trees are Dying

By Nicole Walker   

My mom just called me to remind me I have a big birthday coming up. I said, “Let’s celebrate in Mexico.” If you turn an age in a country in which you were not born, it does not count just as when a forest that has been clear cut down to the earth’s skin doesn’t… Read more »


Excerpt from “Letters to Sister Audre”

By Marlee Miller   

Dear Sister Audre, I was in Mrs. Parker’s fourth grade class the first time someone told me I was too sensitive. The New England Patriots had won the SuperBowl two months prior, but the boys in my class still never missed a chance to whisper about Janet Jackson’s exposed breast. It was a Friday, and… Read more »


The Still Point of the Turning World

The Still Point of the Turning World

By Natalie Hodges   

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is…                                                                                     T.S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton”   Hurrying to the Quad in the cold, almost late, I was overtaken by a man walking swiftly and determinedly, exhaling white gusts into the November… Read more »


Trains

Trains

By Charter Weeks   

In the 60s I took the Orient Express from Paris to Athens, sitting up in a compartment for six days while people got on the train in Italy, heading home to Yugoslavia with livestock. I have ridden the Shinkansen at 220 miles per hour from Hiroshima to Tokyo with splendid views of Mt Fuji out… Read more »


A Human Presence

A Human Presence

By Alexis Lathem   

Not too long ago, the field behind our home was planted every spring with industrial corn. Year after year, the tired soils, loaded with chemical fertilizers and liquid manure, produced their truckloads of number two corn. Now and then a tractor would pass over the land, spreading its gossamer wings of poison, but I almost… Read more »


The COVID Sunday Drives

The COVID Sunday Drives

By Debra Monroe   

1 My friend once saw wildflowers in an alley and a purple string mop set out to dry, its mop head up, seemed to her like wisteria—its dangling purple strings—but I always want roaming to transport me, and I hope to be alone with trees, to be do not disturb with trees, admiring their smallest,… Read more »


Open Carefully

Open Carefully

By Kathy Davis   

Sing to me of the man, muse, the man of twists and turns. —The Odyssey by Homer, trans. by Robert Fagles   Palm Sunday, April 5, 1936, a tornado roared through Tupelo, a town in northern Mississippi of approximately 7,350 people. There were no early warning systems. The black cloud sudden on the horizon. No… Read more »


The Incredulity Response

The Incredulity Response

By Meg Senuta   

Fight or flight, I knew about those options. Fight like my father, who waved his beer and shouted, his face bright red. Flight, like my mother, who left the house for long stretches of time. It turns out there’s another option:  Freeze. Early in the morning one high school summer I woke to loud wheezing… Read more »


Diane

Diane

By Joseph Cuomo   

Sometime after I turned sixteen, sometime around the late 60s, I started hanging out at Little Ed’s, a clapboard house in blue-collar Queens, where we could get high without hiding it, listening to music as loud as we liked, singing, shouting, nodding out, luxuriating in a kind of easy, indolent, beautiful oblivion. And yet, even… Read more »


The End of the War

The End of the War

By J.D. Scrimgeour   

This piece is part of our Fall/Winter 2020 print issue.


Father of the Bride

Father of the Bride

By DeWitt Henry   

This piece is part of our Fall/Winter 2020 print issue.


Street Boy

Street Boy

By Walter Skinner   

This piece is part of our Fall/Winter 2020 print issue.


So Darkly Bright

So Darkly Bright

By Alexis Lathem   

This piece is part of our Fall/Winter 2020 print issue.


Four Winds

Four Winds

By Anne-Marie Oomen   

Among the Maya, four gods of the winds and of the directions who hold up the four corners of the world.   1. Little Estefania wiggles her butt into place on a bench in the open-air cafeteria, empty of children for this hour, wiggles into place in this wide room where the wind rushes through carrying the dust-laden… Read more »


To Belong in a Garden

To Belong in a Garden

By Herb Harris   

Kindergarten classroom was covered with pictures and decorations that were much brighter than those of my nursery school. Big windows let in the sunlight. I remember pictures of owls, bunnies, and butterflies everywhere. There was a rainbow painted across one of the walls along with a sun that had a smiling face. It was a… Read more »


Most dear in the Double Realm:<br/>The Poetry of Jean Valentine

Most dear in the Double Realm:
The Poetry of Jean Valentine

By Michelle Blake   

Jean Valentine is small and white-haired. When she greets me at the elevator, she is full of an energy that shines in the dim hallway. Inside her three-room apartment, a woman is there helping out, Christine, who comes from nine to one every weekday. After she has introduced us, Jean says, “I’ve lost most of

On Apology

On Apology

By Steve Fellner   

Twenty years after a gay bashing, I wrote an essay about the incident.  It was published.  It revolved around a simple happening.  This is what occurred: During my graduate school years, three men dragged my friend into the middle of the road, hitting him with a baseball bat.  From a short distance, I saw this… Read more »


Pendulum

Pendulum

By Helen Fremont   

Count Giulio Vincenzo Zannini was conspicuously beautiful – when he entered a room, you could feel the air skip a beat.  Almond-brown skin and features so fine they could have been carved by Michelangelo.  He was born in Rome on July 13, 1900, but Mom always said he was better suited to the Renaissance. I… Read more »