In 1392, King Charles VI of France suffered the first of forty-four recorded psychotic episodes, turning on his soldiers and killing four before he was subdued. During subsequent bouts of insanity, he forgot he was king or thought he was Saint George, failed to recognize his wife, . . . Read more
For many years, I practiced the art of dying. During my enlistment as an active duty infantryman in the U.S. Army, I died more times than I can remember. I was blown up by a simulated hand grenade inside a mock village at Camp Rilea, on the Oregon coast. A sniper killed me as the snow fell in Fort Drum, . . . Read more
It looks like dancing the merengue,
like reading Anna Karenina on a tablet in the dark car,
the window’s greening glow against the night.
Or: like the horse in the stall waiting for the gun
and the gate thumping open. . . .
To love a thing
you can foresee:
a swallow flying
through a windstorm,
a teapot cracked.
A lopsided house,
stone roof off
center, . . .
Clouds, come down to sleep in the treetops—
if you’ve seen the pines’ wide boughs
cradle the snow, even from a distance,
you know they can hold you. Or float
yourself into a roofless, falling-down barn
and lie in the moldering hay. . . .
The MacEvoys had the pool dug out of their backyard in April of 1983. For three straight Saturdays in March, Bob Cobb and Dan Gray and Lee MacEvoy, in dungarees and sweatshirts, put their backs into saws and shovels and wheelbarrows. They dug up the lilac bushes along the north side of the property. . . . Read more
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. . . . Read more
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. . . . Read more
I didn’t know he was married,
didn’t know I wasn’t the only one
who believed he had landed
in my life like an out-of-season
blue heron, singular and sunlit
at the edge of a lake, a figure
in a woodblock print, . . .
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. . . . Read more