A fifth-grade bully, a blossoming romance, a late-night crash
Plastic: A Personal History
How can I find a way to praise / it? Do the early inventors & embracers / churn with regret?
The emergence of intelligence, I am convinced, tends to unbalance the ecology. In other words, intelligence is the great polluter. It is not until a creature begins to manage its environment that nature is thrown into disorder.
The Great Decline
Shanna Swan On The Worldwide Drop In Fertility
Frisch: You found about a 1 percent decline in sperm counts per year.
Swan: Yes, which would mean a 50 percent decline over fifty years. We’re actually seeing something a little steeper than that.
Grief Almanac For An Apocalypse
To live long enough in this world means to learn to nestle the twins of grief and hope in your arms. I tuck the bottle of fertility medication next to the black dress I bought for my mother’s funeral. We plant a white pine in the yard, in view of the window of our empty nursery.
You’d donated most of your organs, so the body in your coffin was basically a scarecrow version of you. . . . Thank God they don’t do brain transplants, I thought. Anybody who’d gotten your brain would’ve woken up from surgery a total asshole. I heard you laughing at this. I could remember your laugh really well. It was a letdown that I could hear it only in my head.
These were strange and intoxicating expeditions. At the cliff-lined ends of forest-service roads or the edges of muddy cattle tanks, or in the cricket-loud groves where saguaros gave way to oaks, I would help stretch nets on moonless evenings. Bats fluttered into the thin weave and were trapped, toothy and screaming.
In the backseat on long car rides home from my grandmother’s house in southern Illinois, I cataloged light sources in the dark: gazing at flare towers burning above oil wells, watching the taillights of faster cars shrink to pinpoints, following the sweep of flood lamps up the domes of concrete grain silos.
In the months following Mom’s death in February 2021, I tried to get her to say something to me, to speak to me. If anyone could communicate from beyond, I thought, it was her.
My uncle finally kicked me out, and I was living in the twenty-four-hour Kroger on Fairhaven Avenue in Tustin, California, pilfering food and sleeping at the coffee bar. One day Mr. Muniz pushed a cart through the frozen-foods section where I was fanning myself, and he stopped. I’d gotten ugly, my face wasn’t right, and I could tell he was thinking, What the hell?
A Thousand Words
A Thousand Words features photography so rich with narrative that it tells a story all on its own.
Poems I Won’t Write
The one where you blow your head off with the gun, the gun / I searched for, the gun you fired over the phone while you / stayed silent to make me think you’d finally done it.
I count out the dog’s pills — one for pain, / one for swelling, five to oil those scraping joints — / a rosary I pray will go on forever. I believe / I am staving off the inevitable.
— from “Devotion”