The Scar

I have a friend who has always been thin. Both Sasha’s parents, well into their fifties, are lanky, and, for as long as I have known Sasha—into our earliest years of schooling—her parents have been this way, pale academics, who …

Melissa Malouf

Melissa Malouf

The title of Melissa Malouf’s new novel, More Than You Know (Dalkey Archive Press, 2014), is more than the title of a classic Vincent Youmans’ song from the 1930s. It’s also a reflection on the perpetual state of mind of the …

Bandana

My father wears dark bandanas. That’s his thing. The one time I saw his head without one, I was ten, passing by the cracked door of his room, and there his bare head was, like a floodlight, round and direct …

Pale Horse, Pale Rider

Pale Horse, Pale Rider

An experiment with the form of the nineteenth-century-style review: mega-long excerpts connected by impressionistic ligaments.

Pale Horse, Pale Rider, by Katherine Anne Porter. Random House, 1936.

Victorian novelist Elizabeth Gaskell tried to persuade Charlotte Brontë—whose grim experience of the …

Morphine Pony

I press the button, and a scaffold of screws and pins uncouples from my shattered pelvis,
and leaks away like steam.

And when I wake, the sun has rearranged its buttery geometries on the walls and carpet,
on the little …

Failing Science

One thing any scientist understands is failure.
Many research projects fail to produce results
and nature’s own products often suck
—look at a duck: you think it’s going to
survive natural selection? A quack in New Jersey
and bam: mutation, extinction …

The Pedestrians

The Pedestrians

The Pedestrians, by Rachel Zucker. Wave Books, 2014. $18, 143 pages.

“How can any mother write an epic?” asks Rachel Zucker in her most recent poetry collection, The Pedestrians. Filled with fables, dreams, and ruminations, the book quivers with the …

The Last Eunuch

The Last Eunuch

In the afternoon three things happened to bother me. In order:

1)  I read a Times article about the last eunuch of the Chinese emperors dying alone in a Beijing temple. Most eunuchs had saved their “three precious” in jars …