Please, More

My father begged me to come home.  He told me that he had closed the cellar door, locked it, and thrown away the key.  “It’s over now, it won’t happen again,” he kept repeating over the phone. There was something in his voice that sounded […]

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Lunatics Outside of the Asylum

I am not a mercenary–the word infuriates me. Only Asma used to call me so—she paid the price. We’re messengers. This moonless night, I and my people march through the crepuscular streets. Our wooden masks—colored outrageously in reds, dark greens, oranges and black—with bulging eyes […]

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Jigsaw Puzzle

On a clear December morning, I park the car amid banks of snow and scurry over a sheet of ice to the dermatology clinic. I am on time for my appointment, but the cold air stings. In the waiting room, the sun streams horizontally through […]

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Bubbe’s Shoes

We all laughed at Bubbe’s shoes. Real grandma shoes, well-worn, overworn; a sturdy, slightly thick heel, a nondescript brownish beige, hardly a color at all, tied with a thin shoelace looped through maybe three holes, textured pattern on the sides in a weak design infusion […]

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At Nightfall

By the time I returned to my hometown, it was dusk, and in the hues of blues, purples, and black, I saw my mother’s beloved garden had withered. Her treasured sunflowers: greyed and hollowed husks. Even the weeping willows I had waltzed with in childhood […]

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The Girls On My Street

I am the only girl left on my street. There were four of us. Two tall two short. All a different degree of skin and bone. We were never friends, but we knew each other. In some ways more than most. It is hard to […]

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For Sale

The room where she sits is gray, dull, and pale. Night is falling. And the moon is shining in through the blinds on the back window, casting shadows on the colorless walls. She sits with her back pressing flush against it and she stares at […]

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November 22

He’s been sitting on the sidewalk for an hour, the umbrella man, his collar too tight, his feet falling asleep. He looks around and this is what he sees: the plaza, the county jail, the freeway sign, the book depository. Everything. He checks his watch, […]

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Gloves

The single gloves I find in our orchards mostly have rough-out leather palms and long wrist gauntlets and sometimes tags: “Hecho en Mexico,” “Lobo, Ltd.” and “for citrus picking.” Citrus trees have thorns that would make a rose bush weep green with envy, so if […]

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13 Ways of Looking at a New Professor

I.     After an initial interview for a first teaching job at a small liberal arts college in the late 1980’s, I wait in my office. The phone rings; it’s someone I don’t know from the department that interviewed me. “Are you a member of […]

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Bubbles

At night she lies in her dusky bed and blows bubbles. They expand on the ridged loop of the dipping stick and with a puff of her breath they float away, dozens at a time. I hop around the room, dodging the piles of claustrophobic […]

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Waltz for a Cat

Judy and I were lying in bed, alone together. We had opened the window to let in a breeze. The sounds of life at street level entered the room. Cars honked, birds chirped, and in the craziness of life, I felt safe. “Have I ever […]

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