Unsettle

Tell me we’ll never get used to it. Richard Siken, 2005 The boy didn’t know what to do with sounds that entered his head and became something else. His parents would soon be caught in the glare of their weekly murder mystery, its theme a barrage of horns lingering too long on the tonic, the… More

Star-Taker

She’s on her way to my grandmother’s apartment door and listens to the elevator make that little breathing sound, that unsteady inhalation, as it travels from her penthouse at 10 Gracie Square to our 8th floor. I can almost hear her remembering my paternal grandmother, the woman she’s thought of as Esther from when she… More

Four Ways In

They were two 12 year old boys fighting sleep in an attic room, wondering when their balls would drop and why fathers were so strange. They stretched across the top bunk of the bed unit that was theirs for the summer, bopping feet over its edge and squishing crotches on the coverlet, eyeing what they’d… More

Get under It

On this late Sunday night, halfway through July, I listen to the wood thrush outside our kitchen window. His song’s upward curl fills the back garden two stories below, butts against the humid air, and makes all of Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill his sound. Behind me, in our bedroom, the man I’ve loved for 15 years… More

Leaving Lessons

Fin and Flesh For years beyond counting, she lived far under water among the green things. Their shine resembled that light before the storm comes above ground, as if seen through the veins of a new leaf held close to the eye, in a time so distant that its tale must have been whispered in… More

Imaging Figures #5

“There,” on the “slab outside the dining room door,” Virginia Woolf reports in A Sketch of the Past (1939-1940), Gerald Duckworth, her much older half-brother, begins to “explore” her “body” (69). She is still “very small” (69). He digs down “under” the “clothes,” into “certain parts” which “must not be touched”; the sense that “it… More

Counting

Our Aunt Fanny began her measuring that summer while dusk stood outside her bedroom windows, preparing to stoop and slide through the screens. She was our father’s maternal cousin, daughter of Senator Joe B, as our grandmother cared to call him, because of the way he clunked ice cubes in whiskeys too fine for the… More

Imaging Figures: #2

If Woolf points, in “Walter Sickert” (1934), to the reciprocal stewardship of persons and things, adumbrating how the one can only be the custodian of the other, what manner of seeing structures the import of custodial care? We are meant, I think, to interpret care not in the penitentiary sense, not as though the two… More

Imaging Figures: #1

Each day I attach less value to the intellect. Each day I realize more clearly that only away from it can the writer possess something of our past impressions, that is attain to something of himself and to the one subject matter of art. What the intellect gives us back under the name of the… More

Almost

Bruce Bromley She thought that she wanted him to stay in the same place, but she did not know where that place was. She wanted to be able to return to him, to come back with bags of vegetables, coffee, and cheese, to open their apartment door and smell the rosemary soap he showered with… More