Limits

“Maybe your parents are just limited when it comes to this.” Mr. Howell spoke slowly from the chair he had somehow managed to squeeze out from his desk and turn, to face me. My senior year English teacher’s office was so small, one of us had to stand. In between periods, in the middle of… More

The Girls We Love

Alaina Symanovich I stretched out on my stomach, burying a pillow beneath my ribcage so my small breasts wouldn’t grind into the mattress. At thirteen, what I lacked in mammary tissue, I made up for in soreness: chafing under my sports bra, wincing beneath the blast of the showerhead, yelping when I bungled catching a… More

God Hates Ventriloquists

Morgan Hughes I will put aside, at least for the moment, the eternal debate, which some might correctly suggest is unwinnable, regarding the existence of God—particularly that much-depicted God with the white beard, the flowing robe; that cloud-dwelling father figure, that great and powerful authority who some might say sounds a little like the Wizard… More

The New York Times Magazine Best Fiction Staff Picks:

Curious to know what you think about this list from The New York Times Magazine, Clarity readers. Agree? Disagree? Which of your favs made it? Which amazing game-changers were you shocked to see left off? Nabokov’s Lolita was named the clear winner, but apparently Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay wasn’t too far behind.… More

Poetry & Smoke: A Manifesto

Elaine Sexton I am for a poetry that makes nothing happen. I’m for a poetry that is too young to date, but too old to overlook. I’m for a poetry that wants to paint. I was thinking of those huge paintings by Francis Bacon at the Metropolitan last summer. There must have been about fifty… More

Caminito

…the sign on the corner building read, beside which a street light arched like a back and two tangueros strode across the cover of the leather-bound journal that was to be my first purchase in Buenos Aires. “Little road or journey,” it signifies, though the flight to South America is not diminutive. Distance is not… More

Poetry: A Once & Future Thing

Jascha Kessler It is the polity that forever confronts the spiritual company I call The Tribe of the Poets. Future historians will doubtless look back upon the Twentieth Century as an interregnum, a period typical of an uncertain transition from the disintegrating order of one civilization to that of a still-embryonic, coalescent society, whose proper… More

Frog Family

Townsend Walker My parents must have evolved from frogs. Frogs seldom form families or care for their offspring; they just mate and jump. It took me twenty-three years to have a family; my brother Jack never did; and my sisters married Jesus. I was born in the middle of a snowstorm in New York City,… More

The Tumbleweed & The Street Lamp

Josh Mitchell The recent news of Al and Tipper Gore divorcing after 40 years of marriage has sparked a national conversation on matrimony, a particularly resonant topic for me at the moment. You see: I’m on the other side of the spectrum. I am getting divorced after a mere eight months of saying “I Do.”… More

Birth Rate

Sam Linden When I was eighteen I began to carry a condom in my wallet. I can’t recall where I got it, because I had a paralyzing fear of buying them. This anxiety extended to bringing it around with me. I imagined someone going through my wallet, pulling it out and giving me a skeptical… More

My Father’s Heart

Cornelius Winston One thing you should know about my father is that he has an abnormally large stomach. The kind of stomach that, if x-rayed, would reveal a picnic bench of five angry truck drivers demanding a 4th serving of fillet mignon and mushrooms (if they happen to be sautéed and available). With that being… More