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The Heavy Bag

The Heavy Bag By Maryam Ahmad   |  October 18, 2021
For three years of my teenage life, I fought. Around 5 PM each day, I'd walk into the boxing gym—a repurposed garage—and carefully wrap up my hands, winding the black cloth over and over my wrist and palm, in and out through my knuckles, until my hands felt safe.

Two Hot Zabagliones

Two Hot Zabagliones By Lou Storey   |  October 11, 2021
Feeling lonely and hopeless, I went ahead anyway. Long before computers took over the planet, ManMate, a gay dating service, mailed me a multipage paper form to complete.

Lamp Light

Lamp Light By Zoe Randolph   |  October 4, 2021
I'm not worried about the meat in the freezer or the milk in the fridge. The only concern I have about the sudden soupy darkness is how I can maximize my time spent soaking in it.

The Weight of Grief Goes Round and Round

The Weight of Grief Goes Round and Round By Penny Guisinger   |  October 1, 2021
Tarn Wilson’s memoir in essays, In Praise of Inadequate Gifts, has things to teach us about unusual topics. For example, the first essay teaches us about teeth. Some people’s teeth arrive on schedule and behave the way they’re supposed to, but some don’t. Teeth fall out and get lost. Teeth require nurturing and care. Teeth can disappoint.
Keywords: book review

Blues

Blues By Anne Pinkerton   |  September 27, 2021
He taught the dog to howl when it was just a puppy. I’d find the two of them sitting on the couch together, both tipping their faces skyward, eyes closed, solemn, focused. The little beast mimicked his best friend, his idol, his everything—in harmony, they pursed their lips and aroooo-ed as loud as their lungs could push their animal voices.

The Inside of Bones

The Inside of Bones By Kelly McMasters   |  September 20, 2021
His small voice cuts a jagged line into the not-quite-morning quiet. My body reflexively lifts out of bed, finds its way over the piles of tiny cars and books, through the stone darkness of our new apartment, our first without his father. I steer myself into the bedroom he shares with his younger brother, find his bed, crawl in.

The Last Perfection

The Last Perfection By Gary Fincke   |  September 13, 2021
The week-old "Going out of Business" sign sagged in the store window the last night my father baked. Bread and sandwich buns near midnight. Coffee cakes and sweet rolls at two a.m. Last, as always, the deep-fried doughnuts were finished near dawn while my mother readied the display cases where cookies, cakes and pies were already waiting for their last opportunity to sell. At six-thirty, he filled cream puffs and whoopee pies, and then he drove home to sleep.

Noticing as Rebellion, as Resistance

Noticing as Rebellion, as Resistance By Emily Dillon   |  September 10, 2021
In his new book, Diary of a Young Naturalist, McAnulty, who is seventeen and lives with autism, writes autobiographically about environmental conservation and activism.
Keywords: book review

Life Takes Place Like This

Life Takes Place Like This By Miranda R. Carter   |  September 6, 2021
My student tells me she is going home and then is found hanging by a shower rod on Tuesday afternoon. We do not sleep. All that was hers is now ours to sort through. We speak about her now in past tense.

Filling Cupboards

Filling Cupboards By Danielle Madsen   |  August 30, 2021
You don't start out with coffee cups. You start with single-serve espressos and chai lattes at the coffee shop around the corner from your co-op. But a coffee together after work becomes morning coffee for two.

Resting Place

Resting Place By Kate Levin   |  August 23, 2021
When we arrive at daycare, I step out of the car and close my door gently, hoping not to startle my son awake. As I open the back door to retrieve him from his car seat, I see the bird.

Ascension Garden

Ascension Garden By Stacy Murison   |  August 16, 2021
The first time, you drive by yourself. You have some idea you are going there, but are still surprised that you know the way, without her, through the turning and turning driveways. Left, left, left, left. Park near the rusted dripping spigot.

We Don't Know Their Names. But We Know Their Character.

We Don't Know Their Names. But We Know Their Character. By Katy Major   |  August 13, 2021
David Lazar’s latest collection, The Celeste Holm Syndrome: On Character Actors from Hollywood’s Golden Age, is an artfully attuned set of essays that analyzes the delightful nuances of cinema’s Golden Age and the author’s love of its movies.
Keywords: book review

Merriment

Merriment By Chansi Long   |  August 9, 2021
I was walking to the store with my brother when we stumbled upon a father teaching his daughter to ride a bike. He was in his early thirties, the age my father must have been when he left us, with a widow's peak and roseate cheeks.

Home to Roost

Home to Roost By Vivian Wagner   |  August 2, 2021
I liked the hens, with their kind eyes and soft, red feathers. I was seven, and I wanted to sleep with them, to nestle with them, because they felt like a dozen mothers, all watching out for me. My real human mother said I could, so I took a blanket down there at bedtime and laid it out on the floor of the little wooden triangle coop that used to be my playhouse.

My Father's Only Recipe

My Father's Only Recipe By Kim Liao   |  July 26, 2021
First, take pork spare ribs. Hack them up with an impossibly large cleaver into bite-sized pieces. Rub them with a proprietary mix of star anise, black beans, garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, and secrets. Never ask him what happened in Taiwan, or why his mother never spoke the name of her former husband again.

Name

Name By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  July 19, 2021
I've recently dedicated myself to learning the names of trees. Before I never thought it made much of a difference, but the beauty of their names compelled me.

Morning

Morning By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  July 12, 2021
When my infant daughter wakes at two in the morning and her father cannot coax her back to sleep, she and I curl up on the mattress in the guest room below the big window, and I drift off with her tiny fingers gripping my thumb.

Carrot

Carrot By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  July 5, 2021
Tonight I peeled and chopped carrots for dinner, tossed them with oil and thyme, oven-roasted them. The simpler the ingredient, the more miraculous it seems to me.

Big Ideas in Bite-Sized Essays

Big Ideas in Bite-Sized Essays By Rebekah Hoffer   |  July 2, 2021
Jason Schwartzman’s first book, No One You Know, contains sixty-two essays—many of them just a few paragraphs long—in a concise 155 pages. Each tiny essay in this fragmented collection illustrates a brief, memorable interaction with a stranger, creating the effect of a photo collage.
Keywords: book review

The Last To Turn In

The Last To Turn In By Katie Greulich   |  June 28, 2021
Everyone went to sleep, except my cousin and me. I lingered a bit, my own children upstairs, sprawled across air mattresses, or burrowed in rented cribs. He wanted to stay awake, to party. Or at least have a companion to watch It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

The Extinction Museum: Exhibit #207 (Glass Coke Bottle—Labeled “Helium”)

The Extinction Museum: Exhibit #207 (Glass Coke Bottle—Labeled “Helium”)	By Tina May Hall   |  June 21, 2021
Parties were for destroying. You hit the patient hero with a stick until he broke open to rain down candy. Every wall was filled with pinholes and sword dents. In the backyard, your friends tore up the grass in handfuls, sundering unwary worms, leaving gouges to slip on after rain.

Ceremony

Ceremony By Robert Barham   |  June 14, 2021
She dances beside the highway each morning. You're driving your son to school, in thick traffic with lights to make, when you notice her across a stretch of construction and broken streets. Bearing marks of itinerancy and sleeping rough, she reaches the center of an empty lot, and it begins: a dancer’s poise with sure cadence and confident, inevitable steps.

Reclamation

Reclamation By Justin Florey   |  June 7, 2021
The Army Corp of Engineers lowered the water level of the Mississippi River below St. Anthony Falls so they could inspect the locks. My wife took the kids down there at my suggestion. Children frolicked in areas where, in any other circumstance, they would surely drown.

We Might As Well Die Laughing

We Might As Well Die Laughing By David MacWilliams   |  June 4, 2021
John Rember’s essay collection is both delightful and depressing. The ten essays, each divided into ten segments (thus, the “hundred little pieces”), flesh out his perspective as our civilization and its natural environment crumbles.
Keywords: book review

Notes to My Father

Notes to My Father By Kathy Fagan   |  May 31, 2021
On most surfaces in my house, you'll find short notes I've written for my father. I flip the phone's camera on FaceTime so he can read them when he can't hear me. He mouths them slowly out loud: Be good and obey nurses. Put hearing aids in ears. Today is Jacob’s birthday. Stay awake in daylight and sleep in the dark. Change into clean clothes or God won’t take you to heaven. Call after dinner. I love you.

Command

Command By John Bonanni   |  May 24, 2021
It's nearing Easter, 2020. My lover, David, and I watch The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston. We break it up across three days, one hour per day. I always associated Heston with the NRA, with white old man gun-toting Uhmerca toxic masculinity, but the more I watch, the more Moses’s shoulders and thighs seem to flex, seem to bulge out of the screen, oiled.

The Drive Home

The Drive Home By Kimberly Goode   |  May 17, 2021
We pulled out of the driveway. Our destination: Newark International Airport for a pre-dawn flight back to Seattle. My father drove his Ford Taurus just below the speed limit. Staring out the window, I thought of all the times we'd travelled this road together before.

Reading

Reading By Susan Hodara   |  May 10, 2021
I am reading. I have spun into the writer's words, how his grandmother curled and uncurled the telephone cord around her fingers. I remember those curly cords, how the coils unspooled when you walked around, and then jumped back, spiraling in on themselves, hanging like a wonky rubber ringlet.

Essays All: However We Decide to Collect Them

Essays All: However We Decide to Collect Them By Beth Alvarado   |  May 4, 2021
When I was sending out an early version of my manuscript, Anxious Attachments (2019), several agents, who were all interested in the book, asked me to revise it so it would be a “memoir in essays” and not an essay collection, as I thought of the book.
Keywords: book review

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