• Just a chapter and not the story itself

    A second birthday, a third maternity leave. A second August and most of September in our new old house. Great rains sometimes fall / evening cicadas sing /dew glistens white on grass / swallows leave. This is the week that thunder ceases (more is expected this weekend). Like that, the baby is two months old. Like…

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  • Matters of the Heart

    Matters of the Heart

    One of the great, enjoyable mysteries of any pregnancy is what the baby will look like. How strange, then, to know my daughter’s interior so intimately months before I saw her face. Read more

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  • Inaudible as dreams, or: thoughts on discursion and A Life’s Work

    The first thing that occurred to me, as I watched the woman strike the child, was that surely I was not the only witness. A limpid, early summer evening, on a cul-de-sac of tightly spaced houses — surely other families were watching, from their back patios, their screened porches, their postage stamp front yards. At…

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  • Sometimes It Blows Shut and Sometimes It Blows Open

    What was the name of the game we played as kids, where we’d crawl into our sleeping bags head-first and then, upright, attempt to topple one another? Caterpillar? (But those are horizontal.) Whatever it was called, I could never manage more than a few seconds of it. The bag would close in on me; my…

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  • codes so subtle that they change their whole meaning in half a line

    A year and a day ago we packed up our car and drove to Vermont. For a day it was spring and then for a long while it was winter. That period feels like the airclay I got my son: you can mound it up or flatten it out or stretch it loooong. A year…

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  • everything held together by tacit agreement that it would

    The afternoon is settling in fast, that nice, milkweed light you get in early winter pooling into my bedroom, the windows muffling the whipping noise of the cars and occasional truck as they exit and enter downtown. In Brooklyn, I always wrote (and, during quarantine, worked) in my bedroom, but in the suburbs, I have…

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  • Practical Mechanics

    Practical Mechanics

    The hole started as a prototypical answer to a hypothetical. As it grew — in length, mostly, but also in depth, it became a joke. Now, I’m not sure. At its deepest, the hole is nearly as tall as Brady. I knows this because, when he is digging, I can see just the top of…

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  • Endgame


    I write this sitting in a fake leather chair on an Amtrak train headed back to Boston. The train is quiet but my head is not. Michigan seems like a dream to me now. Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you (substituting weary, or bone-weary for the original adjective). After three days and four…

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  • every memory is turned over and over again

    My dog died, and a week later, my second son turned one.  I got Gita the year I turned sixteen. A quid pro quo, with the quo my being kinder to my mother’s boyfriend. A smart negotiator, I asked for the quid upfront, and rapidly abandoned any attempt at the quo.  I found her in…

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  • Don’t believe them when they tell you how economical and thrifty nature is

    I have an office now. A genuine room of one’s own. It has walls of planked pine painted periwinkle blue and a ceiling that only just clears the top of my head. Most of the walls in the house are stone plaster, meaning you can’t just go hang up any old thing — but not…

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