Claustrophobia

Claustrophobia

The crush of it: not just the body swaddled in the sweat of fear’s embrace, but the thought confined and bursting within its battered valise, buckled and strapped for a trip to nowhere but a smaller place inside a cell where every pulsing neuron pounds against the...
Washoe Taught Us

Washoe Taught Us

the language of grief is not exclusively human. A wolf carries off our goose by his gaunt neck in the night. His partner wanders the perimeter of our fields for six days until her honking grows hoarse. But it is the human: so much of what we are is what arrests us....
Stripping

Stripping

  Like a benediction, we grow into a smaller language. So many words given up, disremembered, abandoned from tents & saw packs. What use here in the Middle Santiam Wilderness do we have for the word sink? When would we ever utter closet or phone or bank account?...
Necessity

Necessity

            When I worked in an orphanage a boy came to harvest sugar cane in what he’d worn to work the street at a beach resort. His bunkmates picked up volcanic rock I later learned geologists call scoria—a word whose root gives us slag, drek and excrement. At the...
Not Huron or Michigan

Not Huron or Michigan

If your wife hates you don’t go out and get another one, it’s probably not your fault anyway unless you put too many oranges in the bowl and were only supposed to place two. Still, she probably can’t count but that says nothing about the turn of her elbow on the...
This Morning in Nebraska

This Morning in Nebraska

The corn has stopped whispering, “Rise,” and waits in silence for high clouds to bend in rain. Across the highway, soybean bushes crouch like green dogs wolfing bowls of earth. The actors in the hit play Boomermania wake, achy-boned, with ancient jingles in their...