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A Center

If others call you a maniac or a fool, just let them wag their tongues.

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 Dream of Ease

I shoved them one by one, easy as pie yet with care, just shy of mercy.

A Farmer’s Life: Xiwuqi, Inner Mongolia

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

A Father’s Story

Certainly the ushers who pass the baskets know me as a miser.

A Final Conversation

I used bravado to protect myself when we lived in poverty.

A Husband and Father

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

A Life with Bears

I want to focus on bears. On knowing them, and on what they need.

A Lot Going On Up There

The hawk moves out of the way to let a little hot package of breath rise up.

A Master at Work

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

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 Real Writer

Advance planning was never Hank’s strong suit, he had to leave her.

A Sailor

She did not leave him for the sailor. So why should he be angry?

A Secret Space

Two weeks after she and Mark were married, Hannah fell in love.

A Serious Desert

All over the planet people try to end pain: striptease, bee stings.

A Shrine at the Inn

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

A Small Blip on an Eternal Timeline

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

A Small Hotel

The allure of Mardi Gras is to feel this way: unseen and unseeable.

A Soldier’s Lover

We never really had what might be considered a normal conversation.

A Summer in Between

In a way she enjoyed the slow, sad feeling of letting it go.

A Trout in the Milk

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

A Vacuum Is a Space Entirely Devoid of Matter

I needed a paycheck a lot more than I needed to be kissed.

A Weary Desperado

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

A. Roolette? A. Roolette?

She remembers that golden ocean, the promise of a whole new land.

A. Roolette? A. Roolette?

She remembers that golden ocean, the promise of a whole new land.

Acceptance

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

Accident

On my way to the airport I hit a Christian. This was in Arkansas.

Advice for a Young Painter

Identify where you came from, where you are, and where you wish to go.

Aeneas Leaves Kansas

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

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