A Common Story

“I think he does not care for art; I fancy he has not even read Pushkin.”

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 Human History in the Wilderness

My grandfather committed my grandmother to a mental asylum.

A Journey along the Atlantic Slave Route

Neither blood nor belonging accounted for my presence in Ghana.

A Master at Work

Man is always beginning everything anew, even in his own life.

A Partial History of Lost Causes

Chess was a humiliation that hung over him like a leper’s bell.

A Shrine at the Inn

It was true. We would probably never visit that place again.

A Smile of Fortune

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

A Weary Desperado

I was convinced she’d be back in the morning, like the sun.

A Winter Walk

After breakfast I set out to see what my wild neighbors have been up to.


However hard you try to make amends, they will still condemn you.


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

Addendum and Other Poems

The animals are dying. All the beautiful women are dying too.

Aeneas Leaves Kansas

All night the insects’ grinding jaws chewed through the darkness.

After the Fire, the Sound of a Low Whisper

Our life is fine as it is, she would say to him, and it seemed true.

Afternoon and After

The event was an accelerator. So much matter crashed, vaporized.

Aim High Olongapo

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

All Saints All Souls

This is the day when the saints all go silently to church in France.

All That Floats

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


I couldn’t love the tree in every soul shouldering its own tiny autumn.


He fell to the floor and begged the gods. The gods were silent.

American Idol

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

An Instance of Love

We have harvested nothing more than the stench of middle age.

Arpeggio Progression in Missing Key and Other Poems

do you asks pretty sue know what I love what pretty please tell us

As Is

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

Asteroid B612

Your soul feels old and familiar like a book that opens to my favorite pages.

At Age Ten I Escape from the Work Farm and Pursuant to Court Order, Am Recaptured in a Cincinnati Amusement Park

That’s why Mam drinks whiskey. That’s why he drinks whiskey too.

At the Center of the Sailing World

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

Atomic Facts

I do not want to fall prey to the bewitchment of my mind by language.