Mastering English

If you play, decide three things: the rules, stakes, and quitting time.

Miss Burma

All that existed was Louisa’s beauty—or Khin’s refashioning of it.

Mrs. Bridge

Ms. Range Wants to See Me in It

Men can’t sense like that. Or won’t. Even a father don’t dare get that close.

Muslim Girlhood

I watched to see how the others lived, not knowing I was the Other.

My Daughter and God

My wife had time to form a thought: I have killed my daughter.

National Geographic

I make peas and argue with a wall. Something gets stuck like that.

Nick Will Be Successful Influential & Will Marry the Pretty Girl and He Didn’t Even Go to Yale

The graffiti suggests the most essential story of New Haven.

No Pain So Great as Memory

I’ll leave a trail of crumbs as I descend into god knows where.

Of God and His Enemies

Logic is such an elegant weapon; and religion, such an easy target.

On Livelihood

“I always arrive late at the office, but I make up for it by leaving early.”

Operation Iraqi Freedom

It was enough to make the most hardened veteran drop his guard.


The fog’s sheen is a mirror: my mother sees the terrain of the future—

Picnic Point

The fish’s eye is mangled, tugged inward; blood leaks from its gills.

Reading Rilke and Other Poems

The men here don’t know where to place me, call me exotic grail.


For a moment I had the delicious feeling of fitting in without even trying.

Reflections on Newtown: No Safe Place

If it were fiction, calling the place Newtown would be too much.

Rise the Euphrates

Rise the Euphrates, my first novel, grew out of a feverish dream.

Sad Little Outlaw

I was always being left behind in the mud, a bandage around my eyes.


Throwing the El Camino into drive, he roared down the mountain road.

Say Something about Child’s Play

Like a bird with a broken wing I will smudge the line of the hopscotch.

Self-Portrait With & Without

You have to be three times better than the white kids, at everything.

Senior-Year Psychology

The sex in these fantasies was always a product of love.

Shelf Space

I read cookbooks the way I do poetry, with a willingness to be transported.

Shirley Hazzard

We have mysterious inclinations. No one can explain it to us.

Sin Vergüenza

He felt desperate for the rains, mosquitoes be damned.


In school, he was called gook, chink, and one boy called him ching-chong.

Sometimes Only the Sad Songs Will Do

You might say I acted on instinct. All I wanted was to stop the screaming.


It was half the Spanish he knew—stop, I have a shotgun.

Target Fixation

I grip the handlebar and pin my eyes shut, waiting for the inevitable crash.