I am perfectly fine here: ice-choked,
thin as an eyelash. The bootprints on
my headboard are getting darker.
The chimney: clogged with fish eyes
and sea glass. Somewhere my enemies
are singing to the food on their plates.
As a boy watching movies with my father, . . .
Summer camp. The Connecticut hills. Cumulous oaks and maples surround the glassy surface of the lake. At a distance the water looks black. Beneath my small hands, paddling forward, cupping down and pulling back, it sparkles, mica specks drifting in the sunlit water. Transparent minnows scatter below me. I can see clear to the bottom: gold and tawny sand, . . . Read more
for Galway Kinnell, 1926–2015
Someone says, “Galway cares
Now that he’s left, that’s left up to us.
Like the tree there at the corner
of Westview and West Lake,
some kind of maple, . . .
He absolutely killed me: ravished.
Their mother loved idioms, coaxed life back into the dead slang of generations past; cool beans, groovy daddy-o, and douche bag all had a place at the table, the breakfast table where she often discussed termite tracks along with her nightly rendezvous. . . . Read more
My cultural legacy has revealed itself to me in unexpected ways. As a child of immigrants who came from a community of once-immigrants, I picked up some family mythologies via after-dinner stories, and some traditions through our special occasion activities. Being Saiyed meant being more than Indian and Muslim, not only descended from Persian missionaries to the subcontinent, . . . Read more
I first knew Coleman Barks in 1970 when I took his class on writers of American realism at the University of Georgia. We read Flaubert and Turgenev in that class because Coleman believed you couldn’t understand the American realists without the French and Russian authors as examples. Students thought of him as a nonconformist, . . . Read more
The story is almost always the same. Every six months or so, I make the trip from Tucson back to my old neighborhood in New York and discover yet another childhood landmark gone. Some landlord or other has forced a beloved store out of business, the rent raised a thousand percent, . . . Read more
It’s where black cats tend to live longer
than their allotted nines, and we avoid
cracks in the sidewalk to ward off whatever
might happen in the whatever places
of our minds. And on certain Fridays
when the thirteenth comes around, . . .
These rooms never have windows. I’m alone
and waiting, still dressed in the incessant blue
of their gowns. Outside this room, my whole life
swallows hard. My husband paces the waiting
. . .
In which I try to decipher
the story it tells,
this syntax of monuments
flanking the old courthouse:
here, a rough outline
like the torso of a woman
great with child—
a steatite boulder from which
the Indians girdled the core
to make of it a bowl, . . .