Her body had become a scale, a device for measuring grief.
The door opened, and Dan stormed in, shouting, “Motherfuckers!”
It helped me free myself from a longtime source of unhappiness.
“Bo? I need you to be a big boy now,” she said. “Are you ready?"
It’s like having your parents in the room. Patrolling our sleep, our sex life.
I had promised my children to end the war before they grew up.
I want him to remember me hanging on his crosshairs.
The author reflects on a soldier‘s experience, in just six words.
I’m recalling his socks, the inked initials, the splashes of blood.
This itchy voice, this desperate chant, that begs: okay. Okay.
With a hammer well aimed, try to destroy the whole with a single blow.
The moon rescinds its blessing, rests its forehead on a crosier of ivory.
For the first two months of class, Toby did barely any writing at all.
The rifle slams into my shoulder. Smoke pummels the air.
Crescencia knew that it was a sin to be in love with a married man.
The transformation of their maid from shadow to sexpot thrills Maizie.
I care only about the little body wiggling in that plastic bassinet.
Six other guests smoked Marlboro Lights, and ashtrays filled up.
He said he had come back to the prison because it was home.
He could see I was American, but I thought he was unlikely to harm me.
The question of love was a dark hole into which Lucy swam daily.
“Are all the girls really beautiful? Is it true you make out in the showers?”
Papa’s link to that pond was a matter of blood. And the delicious carp.
From the flight deck Gray could see home, wherever that might be.
He told me that he knows a parent’s grief for a dead child.
I drank every night until late and drew earth-shaking conclusions.
Having his ex-wife in the house was a distraction. He forgot to grieve.
Sometimes the phone would ring and ring, and I’d go answer. It was him.
You put his hand around your throat but he keeps moving it away.
She had not anticipated that the nightstands would be an issue.
Wrists will twist or twirl while the hand writes the wriest writs—lamps-lit.
A real or imagined boundary, crossed. End of the line. Lined out.
Here is the fat guy whose Chihuahua gnawed through his stomach.
I blush whenever that room in Ensenada comes to mind.
I couldn’t wait. By the time you return it would’ve rotted on the vine.
They taught us do not touch it, but who can keep from touching it?
Eros, myth, life, and literature in brilliant paintings by Lincoln Perry.
This is all there is. Nothing else. No heaven and no hell, okay?
My father said he didn’t believe in the afterlife, in God, or Jesus either.
Lambert started to cry and said he was sure there was a God.
Both dogs were barking now—their barking urgent, hysterically pitched.
He picked up the knife I had there, and said he’d kill me if ever I told.
What’s the harm? Will you fight even the healing powers of love?
How’s everything? It’s been forever! Things with me are pretty good.
A letter is like a poem, showing the marks of an unwilling composer.
Fresh from Texas. She has the head of a girl & a serpent’s body.
No woman he’d ever been with responded so unmistakably.
Jayne Anne Phillips
Whether or not I’m working on the book, the book is working on me.
Sam was like family. He was the angel of my writing life in every word.
Jayne Anne Phillips recalls her friend, the legendary Sam Lawrence.
Time, now more than ever, is of the essence. Time is all there is.
Poems and stories are the whisperings of angels we cannot see.
Their house is what I see when I look up from my notebook.
She stared back at me, a toddler almost hidden in the folds of her skirt.
Someday you’ll understand, darling. Everyone will just—vanish!
She commands, under her breath, You must be the son.
I’d done what no woman of my race and social station had ever done.
After seventeen years we’re parting ways. Breakups hurt, even this one.
Mark looked down at the fortune cookie as if it were a summons.
Was that lipstick on Don’s cheek? This was too much for her to take.
She looks at them through eyes flattened by a confused life.
I hope you weren’t reverse-bookmarking everyone.
Had he been a man, we could’ve saved his life right then and there.
He came into town with his big red pen and began revising us.
This morning drifts of sand hissed along the shore like mist.
The fires in the hills signify nothing more than their own wonder.
You come hot, marching between one blazing Arab & one crazy Jew.
“Tell me about the things you can’t tell me about when I’m dressed.”
Even before bills and rent and adultery—you don’t sleep well.
Mark was spending his life with one of the world’s weaklings.
“You mean to fall in love with your wife while I’m gone,” she said.
A political tragedy you won’t lose any sleep over, told in just six words.
I am almost never standing in the ocean, not that way, not anymore.
I’m from Boston, is that why I imagine Fredrick’s emotions for him?
That year, the mail would arrive as white as warning, as flashing teeth.
Four wings of silk without a trace of dust perched upon a silken line.
If I bring the wrong pen the words look like snow piles on an empty page.
He doesn’t notice the cop car rolling slow-motion into the station.
Blacked-out little angel, you shuffle home under the streetlights.
Out by the road was her son standing without a stitch of clothing.
My sister’s fever wasn’t gone at all, but dazzling— suspended over us.
He was warm that way, always tender, and maybe that’s the worst part.
He longed only for Claire’s strange seriousness, her silent focus.
Desire whittled me a tool I’d never seen but knew how to use.
Language seems accomplice to grieving, everything dissolves.
Life, then, was song and purple font, imagining in words a future.
’Tis with our judgments as our watches, none go just alike.
The first time she’d touched his body, it had been like going back in time.
At the moment we were having that conversation, she already knew.
Was he taking them to the races? If so, they were happy to see him.
A whippoorwill called, a lonely voice among the cedars.
All right. We are perfect. Tomorrow we will make a million dollars.
I doubted that I would wring any kind of apology, large or small.
Tomorrow I’ll be ratted out about the hunting, but I knew it’d be worth it.
“Oh, Jesus.” It’s the greatest shame since 1929’s stock market.
Xin Bao had gotten drunk and stolen a hyacinth macaw.
At the copier, her back to him, running off copies, was Penny Ayler.
He says the word robbery and you don’t know if he’s asking or telling.
I let the baby mouse live because I cannot kill what has ears.
It’s like listening to the snow falling before sticking out your tongue.
She remembers that golden ocean, the promise of a whole new land.
She remembers that golden ocean, the promise of a whole new land.
Are you there? I couldn’t tell you about the time I saw the deer.
In three years he had made her forget that blindness meant not seeing.
A dangerous heat came from him, the heat of some interior decay.
Strangely, this may have been the first time I really saw anyone’s face.
I could untie Minnie’s silk, restitch it into places I’ve lived.
I have so many T-cells I’m afraid of forgetting their names.
At night everything feels. Even a river feels its way through the woods.
His looks were Russian. He was surrounded by mystery.
In a few days the troops were to go further on. I left the next day.
Fishing with Dad guaranteed two days of just us and made me special.