A Chain of Tiny Disasters

A widow is sort of a holy figure, while a divorcée is a tawdry one.

A Different Ending

The peanut seller tore sheets out of paperback books to make the cones.

A Distant Episode

The distant past returned—what part of it, he could not decide.

A Farmer’s Life: Xiwuqi, Inner Mongolia

For my vacation last summer, I visited the Bateer family in Xiwuqi.

A Journey along the Atlantic Slave Route

Neither blood nor belonging accounted for my presence in Ghana.

A Lebanese Feast

Lebanon’s dreams of a homeland were fading with every rocket launch.

A Letter to Robert Pinsky

We caress the rough. Sensuous, delectable, and yet sorrowful.

A Marriage Contract

They went to pray for the dead. It was important to shed some tears.

A Model Prisoner

A Place of Our Own

Lorenzo and me, we’d squat our own building. It was the new frontier.

A River of Stars

For all the stories they’d concocted, the real one electrified them.

A Separate Set of Signs

Is she dreaming of the rivers soft with codling in her hometown?

A Small Blip on an Eternal Timeline

I grabbed him by the face and told him life only comes to a person once.

A Smile of Fortune

She favoured me with an even more viciously scornful “Don’t care!”

A Taste for Winter

She is very rich. She will leave me everything when she dies, he says.

A Windfall

She flicked a bit of citrus on her tongue. Her laugh was hard and high.


The guards ripped off Mara’s clothes, pinning her head against the wall.

Across the Sea: A Sequence

The stones here carry the island’s low cry inside them. A landlocked grief.

After Saddam

He said he had come back to the prison because it was home.

Aim High Olongapo

From the flight deck Gray could see home, wherever that might be.

All Good Things Are Surprises

So, Ida, are you a Jew or a nudist? Do you believe in Hanukkah?

All That Floats

Devanand Simon was twenty-five when the bodies fell from the sky.


He longed only for Claire’s strange seriousness, her silent focus.

Alva Watches the Previous President Fly Away

Alva knows the storm is coming. The ground is falling away.

American Idol

Karen was, in that moment, nothing, emptiness. She was oblivion.

And Yet Beauty Lives

We are like a village here, separated from the rest of the world.

Animals & Instruments

His fingers traveling through these notes can assuage, I think, all pain.

As Is

When she sleeps, Shakespeare writes one more sonnet we’ll never read.

Ash Heap of History: June 9, 1982

There was a glint of cold red light out there, on the other shore of the lake.


To resist him, I danced how he wanted, but made a mockery of it.