Category Archives: Creative Non-fiction

Quiet Depths

No heartbeat. Eight weeks into hope after so many missed opportunities, but now hope takes off and leaves on silent wings, leaving me gasping and empty. The short distance through the gauntlet of women with healthy pregnancies is an unfathomable … Continue reading

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Justice Isn’t Possible: Why I Write

I watch a lot of true crime shows: Forensic Files, Dateline, Deadly anything. And one thing, amid all the grizzly horrors some human has inflicted upon another, always strikes me—not due to its surprising or particularly revelatory nature, but because … Continue reading

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Coping with Unemployment While My Grandmother Is Dying

After losing my job, I moved home and attended my cousin’s wedding. The morning of, someone asked where Grandma was. I said I’d find her. I went outside and there she was wandering around the parking lot—small, curly white hair, wrinkle-eaten … Continue reading

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Memorial Day Bonfire in Stanardsville, Virginia

In a half-circle, in the dark, we sit in folding chairs, in a clearing in the woods, facing the fire. By gravitation, we gay men mostly sit to the right, women to the left. Johnny offers tequila, tiny plastic cups. … Continue reading

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Countdown, March 24, 2020

Zinc supplement pills are hard to find in the U.S. now, so I buy six bottles at the GMC on Calle Londres to take with me back to Virginia. Yesterday I found abundant toilet paper at the OXXO near my … Continue reading

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Neon Disguises

Las Vegas: city of billboards, debauchery, and celebrity second chances; a desert oasis of burning lights and alcohol-fueled gambling binges. It’s a city with an identity crisis: a metropolis among sand dunes, a tourist haven founded on poor imitations of … Continue reading

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Touch of Evil: Hades’ Soliloquy in the Dark

I. THE FILM Everyone Loses First the deficits. Some movies are dated in tone, others in plot, still others in their depiction of behaviors. Datedness in tone is the least problematic because it gives us a look back into a … Continue reading

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Right Hand Girl

Luck of the draw she is in the first stages of birth. Body bulk lowering, straining, groaning, exerting. Blow flies encircle her head. Eyes wild, sickled white. Fat raft of tongue. Cloudy ropes of saliva. Contractions ripple down her flanks. … Continue reading

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This Was Meant to be Tied to a Carrier Pigeon’s Ankle

There is a long line in a short song in a precariously put together playlist that expertly expels the feelings that I have for you. It is a scavenger hunt of a task where I give you a playlist of … Continue reading

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Surveys, Sallyports, and Safety Scissors

The prison exists to provide the illusion that everyone outside the prison is innocent and free. —Dr. Fred Ashe, Birmingham-Southern College, 2006, paraphrasing Jean Baudrillard “I wanna study prisons.” My voice cracks as I say this, as it does whenever … Continue reading

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Friends I Didn’t Make at Farm Camp

Emma, whose glasses glittered pink and yellow along the rims. When I looked at those glasses, I wanted to eat them, crunch their rock sugar-shine and suck the lenses like hard candy. When we were paired together for manure-shoveling duty, … Continue reading

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Paper Animals

It was the last day. At the beginning, I had found myself counting the days. We had arrived here in the heart of winter. The little village was located up in the mountains, a place so untouched by globalisation it … Continue reading

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When Comes Fire

“What is the true meaning of shelter?” Pádraig Ó Tuama God knows what time it is when a strong hand pounds the door, rings the bell incessantly, and someone yells, “Fire! Fire! Get ready to evacuate.” You open the door, … Continue reading

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Drive

More than a dozen ice packs and three days later, I’m ready for action again. Jeff has invited me to meet up at Deer Valley’s MORP. Happy memories of MORP from the year prior make me eager to attend. However, … Continue reading

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Open Arms

I lay wide awake in bed for a long time. I imagine the expression “in the heat of the night” typically describes a fiery tryst between two impassioned lovers. Of course, teenage boys can create sufficient friction all on their … Continue reading

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A Line From Brief Encounter

In David Lean’s film, Brief Encounter, the characters played by Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard meet by chance at a commuter rail station and begin an affair. During a few clandestine meetings, first on a trip to the countryside and … Continue reading

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Thumbing Down the Road

If I were asked to design a crest symbolizing my adolescent years, I’d be tempted to include an outstretched arm and raised thumb as a central feature, though the thumbs-up gesture might delude people into thinking I was a happy, … Continue reading

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Half-Skull Days

Last week, it rained six days straight, not for six days straight, as it can back home in the Midwest, but on six consecutive days. In the eighteen months we have lived in Southern California we have not experienced more … Continue reading

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Another Dark Place

            In a dark time, the eye begins to see.                                                 — Theodore Roethke Shallow breath is winter’s way of breathing; I am double-masked walking in the woods, with fogged glasses; dressed in black, pushing my stick ahead of the mud that … Continue reading

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new time no time always time: moving/into another year

Our hours have been lifted out of the rusty bottoms of the clocks and carried halfway across the globe to another continent. On the new continent, everything seems immortal, appetizing, immune to decay. On the new continent, every stranger that … Continue reading

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Una tavoletta di cera / A Wax Tablet

Original by Franca Mancinelli Uno sguardo dall’alto ricongiunge tutti quelli che sono divisi Hugo von Hofmannsthal Lo sciame di minuscoli insetti è rientrato in un’ansa dell’aria. Resta un allarme quietato, una scossa nel profondo delle cellule. Ho risalito le scale … Continue reading

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A Brief History of Trees

Long before the gaunt winter maples loitering along the boulevard outside my picture window today / before the curious patch of lanky bamboo stalking the east wall of the drafty, crumbly limestone box that I moved to after my husband’s … Continue reading

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Overcrowding in Ventress Prison During Pandemic, March-July 2020

(Author’s Note: Incarcerated sources are kept confidential to protect their safety and privacy. Each prisoner is identified by a randomly chosen letter.) “When Obama was President, there was still some people put in place to deal with” research and preparedness … Continue reading

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A Continuum of Loss

I lost something once, and in that loss, was everything. I was twelve that year, she was forty-six, her mother was eighty-five and her younger sister had died ten years ago. I am, because she was. She was my one … Continue reading

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Incarcerating Family

(Author’s Note: The identities of prisoners and their family members are confidential in order to protect their safety and privacy. Each source is identified by a randomly chosen letter.) (Part 1) Introduction Over the past eight months, prisoners and their … Continue reading

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