31. “Happiness” Santa Fe Literary Review, forthcoming
30. “Time of Death” Copper Nickel, forthcoming
29. “Only Now” River Teeth, “Beautiful Things” column, October 2016
Only now, as you stand center of an aisle carpeted royal blue, where you and your older sisters, styled by mother in hand-sewn dresses to match her own, once trailed like ducks down the narrow river, bearing Communion on days Mass was dedicated to your dead father;
28. “Notes from the First Week with Identical Twin Boys” Under the Gum Tree, October 2016
Ten humans grow in this room. Colostrum-dotted tubes disappear into noses. Yellow bisque-like liquid drips through IVs that pierce arms, feet, fresh belly buttons. Cuffs no bigger than a shot glass enclose thighs.
27. “States of Permanence and Impermanence” Oh, Baby! True Stories about Conception, Adoption, Surrogacy, Pregnancy, Labor, and Love (Lee Gutkind and Alice Bradley, Editors), In Fact Books, October 2015
Foam isn’t a substance so much as a state of being. When pockets of gas are caught in a liquid or solid, you get foam. It can be dense, like yoga mats, Halloween masks, swimming noodles. Or light, like flame retardant or the head of a beer.
26. “Everything Reaches to Light” Ascent, January 2015
My husband and I were at my mother’s, weeding.
25. “Another Version of Us” Hippocampus Magazine, November 2014 *Remember in November Contest Finalist
I shimmy into another dress and arrange myself in the fitting-room mirror. My fiancé steals glances.
24. “The Naming” Crab Creek Review, Summer 2014
When my son is born, my husband and I give him four names. “Such a big name!” says my mother.
23. “A Lovely Disposition” Literary Mama, March 2014
The baby refuses to eat. She has heated his milk for the perfected four minutes 15 seconds in the bottle warmer, then swirled (shaking creates too much foam) to ensure even temperature.
22. “Crash” Referential Magazine, December 2013
The Catholic boys’ school in New York where I work as a substitute teacher has its own holiday traditions.
21. “The Pearl” Post Road, Fall 2013 *Notable Essay, Best American Essays 2014 *Second Runner-Up, Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest 2012
When I was six, right after my father died, my oldest sister Beth started reading to me. Each evening I’d sprawl on the floor next to her bed while she read from chapter books, long ones that wouldn’t end too soon.
20. “Television” The Citron Review, Fall 2013
The evening our father died, my sisters and I did something we were not normally allowed to do: watch television.
19. “The Vast Inside” The Monarch Review, August 2013
At the heart of Southern Africa, in the northwest region of Botswana, on a long thin island surrounded by vast flood plains, inside a thatch-and-canvas tent-like room built on a wooden deck fifteen feet above vegetation and animal habitat, I sit on a plush white bed surrounded by sheer cotton mosquito netting, staring at the locked glass door, cursing my husband.
18. “Listing to Love” PANK, July 2013
I love little things. I don’t mean little things like a rainbow or a baby’s smile. Who doesn’t love a rainbow or a baby’s smile? You’d have to be such a jerk. I mean really, really little things, like:
17. “Bridges and Tunnels” The Kenyon Review, Spring 2012 *Special Mention, Pushcart Prize 2014
Deep into hypnotherapy, I lift my right forefinger, signaling to Rachel, the practitioner, that I want to speak. “Where are you?” she asks. “It’s the train table in our basement,” I say. “It’s huge. Two levels of electric trains.”
16. “The Lost Object” Connotation Press, March 2012
Often, late at night, I flip through reruns of medical shows: mysterious diseases, tragic diagnoses, and so-called miracles. Once I saw an episode about a girl born without arms.
15. “Blaze of Gloria” Hippocampus Magazine, December 2011
“A rotting log, or snag, provides food and shelter for many animals and plants,” reads Colin, deliberately.
14. “The Rabbit Hole” Hippocampus Magazine, May 2011
“Tell me about your earliest memory,” says Rachel, co-founder of Manhattan’s Neuro-linguistic Programming Center, as we begin our first session of hypnotherapy.
13. “Married by a Monk” Tiny Lights *Honorable Mention, Tiny Lights Essay Contest 2010
Angkor Thom, once a majestic walled city enclosing nearly four square miles of the Cambodian jungle, is now a complex of stunning ruins. Lively markets and inexpensive resort hotels surround the site, so tourists (like me) crowd in close.
12. “Genetic Tribe of One” Anderbo, December 2010
I was feeling alone; I always do when autumn comes and the weather turns foul. Back when I was teaching elementary school, autumn brought long, talkative days and short, hard-slept nights. Now my only reason for leaving the apartment is to buy chicken and gin.
11. “Retail Therapy” Tiny Lights Online, November 2010
It’s 5:35 pm and I’m in Nine West. No matter where you are in the city, or what size your feet, Nine West is there for you, staffed by women in chic black. They don’t push; they just wear the shoes well.
10. “Legs” Connotation Press, September 2010
A massage therapist once told me, “You eat too much junk food. It stays in your legs. They’re like mountains.” My legs are like mountains?
9. “Black, White, and Red” Hawaii Women’s Journal, August 2010
You know it’s a bad idea, but the school where you teach needs the cash.
8. “Hole” Hawaii Women’s Journal, Spring 2010
Four years ago, my tooth had a cavity. It was a molar, number three on the chart. Everyone’s number three tooth is the biggest. Along with fourteen, nineteen, and thirty, number three makes up the gang of big, rugged, third-from-the-back teeth that does the grunt work. During the drilling, a root was struck and the pain began. Whenever pain begins, we become violent. Clip out hangnails. Burn off warts. Suck out tooth roots.
7. “Seven Blessings” Muse & Stone, Spring 2010
I. Hineini. Here I am. Breathe deeply. Sigh audibly.
6. “Spotlighting the Neighborhood” In The Fray, November 2009
A police officer wearing protective gear and holding an automatic machine gun stands in the middle of First Avenue.
5. “Life Slows to a Crawl” Tiny Lights, April 2009
One night, incredibly, I won.
4. “Where Lies, the Meaning” Canon Magazine, May 2008
I learned the key to job satisfaction at the Ponderosa Steakhouse. I bussed tables there. It was gross, but at the time it was cool because I made money and wore a uniform.
3. “Fred and Me and Fettuccini” Canon Magazine, March 2008
“Nice to see you,” said my buddy’s father. I nodded, smiled. “Do you have bags, son?” he asked my friend, who affirmed. “Stay until 3:30. Don’t miss it.” I stared in gracious silence at the man, the architect of the ruse, the reason why, for the third time, I was about to spend an afternoon pretending to be someone I am not.
2. “View Points” Canon Magazine, December 2007
I’m afraid of heights. It’s the sort of afraid feeling that has me sprawled face down on the carpet during particularly panicky evenings so as to avoid being suddenly, mysteriously, sucked out the window.
1. “Archives of a Man” Canon Magazine, May 2007
My father died the week my kindergarten class learned the letters “LMNOP,” how to write them in lower case and upper case, how to sing them in just two notes, how to slip the “U” card in at the end so that Mrs. Thurlow would say “LMNOP-U!” and make us all laugh.