The story of Wing Biddlebaum’s hands is worth a book in itself.

Hardview Hotel

Rules are rules. No one comes this close, this fast. Protocol reigns.


I’ve got other plans. And they don’t center on ringnecks.

Heavy Lifting

His chest was sweaty and his T-shirt stuck to it, bleeding black.

Holy Defense and Other Poems

We were assigned straight to the lion’s muzzle, the Sardasht front.


I walk over to her for what seems to be an eternity. “May I have this dance?”

Hometown Nocturne and Other Poems

What is greater: the distance between these bodies, or their need?

How I Became a Banker

When the thugs from the bank showed, up my father laughed.

How Sex Feels: A Reverie

He begins to realize that the impossible event may well be about to occur.

How to Be a Real Indian

Claim to be Choctaw or Cherokee. Claim to be a princess too.

How to Live in an American Town

You are the only one who knows not to pour water on the flame.

Huntington, Connecticut

I Carried My Father Across the Sea

He was a child. He was dead. He was the shaft of a Long-tailed Astrapia.

I Did Like Butter

It had always been this way. Mothering, for my mother, was a cameo role.

I Escape from the Boers

I was free. The first step had been taken, and it was irrevocable.

In’din Curse

May your wife remove her shirt and have an affair with a tornado.


All her sisters have gone to bed, dreaming dreams not like the wakeful.

It Is Better to Be Remembered

At nineteen I lived for three months as an earnest cocaine addict.

It Is Pretty Cold

Whitman may just mean: it is pretty cold, but there’s always colder.

Jennifer Egan

I’ve wavered in confidence, but never on whether I was going to write.


Do we hunger after conflict as much as we hunger after justice?

King and Other Poems

The irreversible ink stain breaking the face of whatever we skate on.


No one in Lagos slouches. Bravado pulsates through the room.

Learning to Write

I came to computers while trying to run away from literature.

Learning Yiddish

I’m told that even during war, she took the time to put on lipstick.

Lester Leaps In

No matter how hard I played, it was like I was performing inside a vacuum.

Letters to a Young Writer

The best writers talk a story the way they put it down on the page.

Letters to a Young Writer

In the best fiction, there exists a palpable sense of discovery.

Lightning Time

It’s wrong to say the lightning is pink is nothing other than to say it’s not.

Like a Cloud or Boy

The itch of hay dust was the unscratchable itch of desire.