Outside the Window

It is clarity the soul sighs for. But who said that to her, anyway? She cannot remember. Claridad. Fragments of her Spanish keep elbowing in, jarring her thoughts. Not many things are clear and so she has to focus on the few that are. Basta.


The first memory of your shame, though you didn’t realize it as such at the time, is of your mother. She looked old even then, in her forties, sitting in her nightdress next to you half-tucked into bed, massaging a medicinal lotion into your hands.

The Event

Within a month the two of you have adopted this evasion, one of many in the lingua franca of the long married. You even laugh over how lame it is, but it’s a useful bit of marital shorthand, mild enough to escape the children’s attention and easily used in public, should the need arise.

I Would Not Remember Them

I want only to listen to "Morning Breeze with Chandra Corea," the best program on radio Sri Lanka, but Mr. S, he take away radio again and give to his daughter.

Scattered like Desert Sand

Here in this hot-as-hell Humvee, middle of a convoy traversing a warren of nameless Iraqi streets dissolving into sand behind a hard wind-driven wall of desert dust.

We May Be Lost, but We’re Making Good Time

Bonnie Beth never got up early enough to scramble eggs, fry a pancake, or pour Wheaties, so Kindred lifted a heaping teaspoon of instant coffee from the jar into the maw beneath his mustache and washed it down with a Red Bull.

The World We Know

Once I imagined you might build a life from durable and lasting materials.

The Sitters

Lena had named her girls Fluffy, Mittens, Boots, and Mopsy, but when baby number five turned out to be a boy, she didn’t—as we all expected—call him Rocky, Rusty, Spike, or Snuggles.

The Things We Love

Prior to her mother moving in with her, Jen told Eileen, “I have everything I need so bring the minimum.” It was Jen’s way of telling her elderly mother, when you move into my home you will be a guest. This hadn’t stopped Eileen from renting a moving truck, which backed onto Jen’s driveway on...

The Night-Heron

It’s a little before six in Denver on a Thursday morning in April. People are starting their cars, including a diesel truck Disability Dave next door has to let idle for twenty minutes.

A Simple Life

My wife and I moved upstate when we retired from our former jobs: I from newspaper reporting on poor people’s crimes, and she from event planning for rich people’s weddings.

Snake River Story

In the shade of a tall locust in Pioneer Park, sharing a blanket, Deena Lee was on her feet performing a stretch and Montgomery Bolt was on his back, in plaid Bermuda shorts, reading a book.