A Country Doctor

A gravely ill man was waiting for me in a village ten miles distant.

A Dark Place

There was no sense in brushing off or any other civilized thing.

A Human History in the Wilderness

My grandfather committed my grandmother to a mental asylum.

A Husband and Father

Frank kept his face blank as he read the orders: Report to Berlin.

A Numbers Game

We are in his car. “Bell, I’m starving. Want to go for a burger or pizza?” I panic. Pizza. 285 calories per slice. Burgers. Harder to estimate.

A Trout in the Milk

How much simpler and more satisfying was the company of men.

A Wanderer

The tree was shaggy and it bore scars of shrapnel from the war.

After War

The author reflects on a soldier‘s experience, in just six words.


Mostly he was in a hurry, so he’d just stick it in and away we’d go.

All Saints’ Eve

Why did it take Steven’s small coffin to get me to see my own son?

All the Girls Are Fat in Heaven

When you are sixteen and sixty-five pounds, you are all shadows.

Alphabet City, 1985

Tony’d had guns pulled on him more times than he had toes.

An Incomplete Encyclopedia of Happiness and Unhappiness

The appendix on political correctness explains why none of that is funny.

An Injury to One

You are afraid pain itself might develop a way to communicate.

Another Decade, Another Mouth

she was sixteen, and swimming. she was seventy-one, and soft.


I tell him: junkies are the only people worth talking to about love.

Arthur Arellano

The pillow into which her face was turned muffled her voice.

At the Center of the Sailing World

Suddenly, all of the past seemed now like the same endless race.


I lost my medicine bag from back when I believed in magic.

Barbie Chang Poems

Some days Barbie Chang wants to hang up her Asian boots.


I could not tell what visions were vanishing in the dying slave.

Be Patient

The dead children were wheeled away, covered with white sheets.

Bear With Me

Why does she do it? She knows cutting yourself is a joke. Goth, idiotic.

Between Hospital Visiting Hours

Even glaciers have phone lines even Roquefort has its soft tufts of sweet

Birds of a Lesser Paradise

I looked out at the busy world, and I saw nothing but its ugly bones.

Blind Love

In three years he had made her forget that blindness meant not seeing.


Broken Arm

A boy who makes dinosaurs from blue clay, each one with three hearts.


Here’s a first, he said, some nutbag wants to dig the grave himself.

Buried Voices

The story doesn’t begin until the van breaks down, I always say.