Features

Stamp Fever

Father’s latest gift to his 14-year-old son was in a box on which was printed THE GOLDEN GALLEON OF STAMPS, a cornucopia that guaranteed more than a thousand stamps from around the world. And accompanying it, an album, every page with a checkerboard design, arranged alphabetically by the name of a country. . . .

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Gary Ferguson & Alexis de Tocqueville Sit Down with Some of Earth’s Enemies

Let’s face it: the nexus of American nature writing resides in the mountains. To have hiked at a mile high—at least, but preferably twice that—and written about it is almost a required endeavor. Gary Ferguson has done this and more. He’s bona fide; he’ll make a good spokesperson. His trail-essay books come out of the tradition of an author-guide leading readers into wild areas for delight and instruction. . . .

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Fault Line

I drag myself from bed with a magazine of white smiles clamped beneath my elbow, and I’m almost alive in the ruined hallway. Mold dots the floorboards; the ceiling’s splotched gray from water leakage—It’s old markings, our landlord said, Call me if the spots spread. . . .

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Of Yalta

Sure, it’s all Chekhov this and Chekhov that,

and I am far from the only one 

to keep myself up at night

thinking about his gun, 

 

but the man was a dreamboat,

gray eyes and smirking beard

and lips—those lips. . . .

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The Night Street

for Herb Creecy

 

Ten years ago I drove down to Barnesville

to see my friend, the artist Herb Creecy,

who was dying of pancreatic cancer.

He chose this way to end up: No hospital. . . .

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Story

What matters most is private and vast and can’t be seen 

on the brain scan, though it may burn orange or blue 

 

or a toasty gold in the amygdala, 

a magnolia-green in the cingulum, the cinnamon 

 

or burnt wine of an old tin roof all through the fornix.  . . .

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The One I Get and Other Artifacts

                                   Oil has seeped into
the margins of the ditch of standing water

and flashes or looks upward brokenly,
like bits of mirror—no, more blue than that:

like tatters of the Morpho butterfly.

—Elizabeth Bishop

 

How young were my boys when I moved them to a town, . . .

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Stillness, Waiting

If the trout died it would not be

as motionless as it is now,

in a current a man cannot 

stand in and under which looser

stones go tumbling from their sockets.

Across its back it seems sunlight

is what’s swimming, . . .

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