What will we do without exile, and a long night that stares at the water?
My husband collects bruises, counts how many rise above the skin.
I’m told that even during war, she took the time to put on lipstick.
A collection from San Franciscan photographers Eszter and David.
Eszter Marosszeky and David Matheson
Despite seeing the other knockoffs, I hoped my dress would be perfect.
My mother hoped moving would erase the affair with a married man.
No one in Lagos slouches. Bravado pulsates through the room.
My daddy used to yodel. That’s not all. He'd wear plaid shorts & guinea Ts.
Here’s where memory, where waves of light washed over him.
We will use my entire bed and all my dishes, make dirty each chair.
Rain falls steadily, rattling down drainpipes and gurgling into gutters.
There were so many tired, frayed words thick in the air around her.
We were assigned straight to the lion’s muzzle, the Sardasht front.
He is not a man, but an empty shell, a creature who laughs to stop the shame.
You will be a broke blues man with only some story of how you were.
my grandparents lay in a room listening to their legs rub together
Nina sang “Tell Me More and More and Then Some” on the Caddy’s radio.
I hold on to the shape of a star the way my aunts hold on to Jesus’s gown.
There are certain defects which well mounted glitter like virtue itself.
Regarding the affairs of our Father, your demon is Ennui.
The house of our relationship is a fort. Blanket fort. Tree fort.
I am going to relate to you the most lamentable love affair of my life.
He ended every year in this manner, writing and dreaming.
“Nothing does you so much harm as being in disgrace for lying.”
He who would teach men to die would teach them to live.
I could not tell what visions were vanishing in the dying slave.
The fantasy & its own undoing: that silver might drip from a neck bitten.
By the time I looked over my shoulder, the sun had already fallen.
The leaves repeat my fall in choruses more ancient than my own.
The joy and anguish of youth, captured in two six-word stories.
Man is always beginning everything anew, even in his own life.
Here’s a first, he said, some nutbag wants to dig the grave himself.
Not the Olympics, the guard said. Just chuck yourself down the tube.
The letter both pleased and disturbed her. Why did he get in touch?
“Leaving for war, Hayes wept. He didn’t just cry; he wept...”
The women wanted signs of regret, but she was straight shouldered.
He knows what she’s seeking, and he knows she won’t find it.
Ms. Marmelstein led with her eyelashes, curling out like scimitars.
You might say I acted on instinct. All I wanted was to stop the screaming.
This is the stupid math of loving another human being.
I lie down and see you one bed over; therefore God exists.
Many times I’ve stood at the lip of this river and wanted to crawl in.
Each Kardashian is completely capable of being alone at night.
I needed more. I worked her lips back and wedged my hand in.
When you are sixteen and sixty-five pounds, you are all shadows.
The only person I’d seen naked was my mother the night she died.
How do wheels and wind-trash weave us into wakefulness?
Ira and Ada are stepsiblings. Within a month they were sleeping together.
She had instinct for seeing what she could make happen.
Tanya jokes that she comes to the East Coast now only for funerals.
He would sneak into my room, we would have sex, he would sneak out.
One of the most important human capacities is compassion.
My brother stealing all the lightbulbs, my parents live without light.
I want you enough to gnash you into a silence made from pieces of silver.
He’s in the back of the cop car, hands in handcuffs, shaped like infinity.
The year we left the reservation a white boy gave me a trash bag.
What if Eve was an Indian & Adam was never kneaded from the earth.
Ring, ring, ring at 2 a.m. means meth’s got my brother in the slammer again.
No-Horse sucked his lips, imagined the taste of the white girls’ hips.
Let’s walk down to the river, bless the paper boats and turn it all into wine.
Your hands along her spine. Her hips unfolding like a cotton napkin.
A little music. An empty bottle of whiskey. It’s a little like cheating.
A little music. An empty bottle of whiskey. It’s a little like cheating.
I was always being left behind in the mud, a bandage around my eyes.
You can go from one town square
to another and never fall in love.
We need the opportunity to dance with really exquisite strangers.
You are home in your bed like a soft animal with really intense feelers.
She was so beautiful and sweet to us. I remember she laughed a lot.
I’m trying to manage my dumb-dumb time machine brain and be here.
Walking through the snow with her was enough, quiet enough.
Our crowns are made of dead hair and get swept out with the trash.
At night the voices on the patio sound like small darting birds.
All down my street the new fathers beat the kingness out of the kings.
Bear: You were a good ranger, walking carefully between the trees.
She knew Jim would be a terrible husband. They’d murder each other.
You know how good she has always been at hiding herself.
Now all I was, all I had ever been, when it came down to it, was a tenant.
Atomic bomb. How could those two words be said together?
I was constantly being torn between belief and disbelief in his narrative.
“Silence can be difficult, and we’re silent the whole time,” she said.
Each harbored a sense that a family of three was not a real family.
Empty is a strange destination, like arriving at the end of the party.
They fed her honey, cream, bits of lime, that meaty pulp ripped from rind.
They do good things for us, the bats. But we do not want them there.
How bright and eager they appear, how ready to get started.
She heard the lowing of cattle, shouting, the crack of whips.
Who was responsible for my father not living up to expectations?
John-Michael kept his mouth open until saliva had pooled behind his teeth.
My mother taught me to rebel within the boundaries of acceptability.
I'll rid the world of bad things. But first, I need to get more coffee.
Best part of the day? The part when I come up with an idea for a cartoon.
A boy who makes dinosaurs from blue clay, each one with three hearts.
Some days he thinks he has patients to see, meetings to attend.
When I see buffaloes run I think of love—how it is held.
this country will stick it to infiltrators imprison traitors love neighbors
Can there have been something in my letter, that unlucky letter?
I have not won yet, but I behave, I feel and think like a rich man.
Why is a duel out of the question? Men are all cocks; they should fight.
I instantly realised what losing would mean. My whole life was at stake.
1908. The puppet’s name is Sambo. Oh what a friendly boy he looks to be!
Recently a man in my town took up residence on the football field.
He was nervous and ill at ease, but my bearing seemed to reassure him.
My baby was calling to me. But I was welded to the mountain.
The longing to know hovered like a star above this child-woman.
my baba sits in a midwest garage with the hood propped open.
we’ve walked the streets: candied apples on sticks, fish heads.
she was sixteen, and swimming. she was seventy-one, and soft.
The stars begin to turn clockwise, freeing us of all consequences.
A dwarf is now crying, he sounds swollen but golden with malediction.
The portal light, on your face, now, a rose light on a sinking freighter.
I’ve taken the pledge and made donations of blood to the world.
We were both up there smoking weed and axle grease, blinded.
A clumsy coyote descends an old hill of garbage. Death is visiting.
I forgot to detail that the jumper leapt from beside the hanging Monet.
Chess was a humiliation that hung over him like a leper’s bell.
Truths don’t eclipse each other—they only complicate each other.
Never issue a dare to a dead person. They’ve got all the time in the world.
Certainly the ushers who pass the baskets know me as a miser.
Cruelty is cruelty and you don’t ask why, you just hit first and hit hard.
It was an act that made me feel safer but also somehow more imperiled.
I don’t own a smartphone and never will. I’ve never sent a text.
Somewhere along the way her husband had gotten scared.
My girlfriend, Sweet Polly Purebred, left me for George of the Jungle.
I was never nonchalant. I was more intense than Kirk Douglas.
I keep my mother separate from my father. They seem fine with this.
Her top lip lingered behind, pressed between his. They were soaked.
What would you say about the driver of the truck that killed you?
We ate and then made love, the windows open to deafening twilight.
Toe over toe we went, arms held out like tightrope walkers.
Owen falls. Like a dummy. Like he’s dead even before he dies.
When he asks me if I’m ready, I don’t even know what he means.
Despite cell phones, they seem connected only by smoke.
She’ll grow into a beauty, but she needn’t contend with that yet.
He touched her bruise more softly than an elevator button.
Wishing he could change everything, knowing he can’t. That’s the blues.
Streetlights throw the blinds against the ceiling. It’s 7:00 p.m.
As soon as her grandparents left, BLAM, the dance in her died.
My first suicidal ideations occurred to me when I was ten, eleven, twelve.
I loved hopping freight trains. It was cheap, dirty, and dangerous.