He Worked as an Electrician. He Enjoyed Television. (His Obituary Was Plain.)

After my husband’s grandfather dies, I buy our three-year-old daughter “Frida Kahlo’s Frocks & Smocks,” a magnetic dress-up paper doll with clothing and accessories: monkeys and parrots, a paintbrush along with skeleton shirt and pants, onerous scarves and bracelets. Our daughter drapes these accessories in the wrong places: a bracelet on Frida’s head, her monkey gripping the paintbrush and standing by Frida’s easel, which also sports the disembodied head of Diego Rivera. Continue Reading


Green as Ohio’s Tea Hills, named for sassafras, a root boiled and steeped for tea; green as panes of window glass on end, green as deep basins of river water that slow but do not stop, green as shamrocks and great good fortune, green as fiddleheads, fields and falls, green, like the fuse that burns beneath the dun watercolor stain of winter. Continue Reading

Look Out, Look Over, Look Past

When I hear marriage mentioned, the muscle around or the muscle that is my heart stiffens. I meet couples engaged to marry, newly wed or newly coupled, and think how slender the chance for their success. I am inflexible toward remarriage, cannot think why I would ever marry again. Once upon a time I was married, then winter arrived and I moved across town, back to base level in a downstairs apartment alone, looking for the nearest grocery store, watching the weather, hoping to be surprised by how the story unfolded. Continue Reading

Shadows and Smoke

I’ve finished my shopping at the farmers’ market. My bags are filled with carrots and cucumbers, eggs and tortillas. At my last stop, the boy handed me my change for the olives and hummus, then presented me with a gift, a napkin heavy with baklava. “A sweet for the sweet,” he said, assuming his uncle’s broad stance. The baklava was my excuse to find a bench, but I’ve already eaten the whole piece and scraped its syrup from my napkin. I’m still here, sitting and savoring the market. It’s Friday evening, and this is the most beautiful spot in Los Angeles. Continue Reading

Lonely Species

My partner made me ears from old suede gloves the color of charred brimstone. She pasted fake sheep’s wool in the center; an illusion of depth. I glued the ears to cardboard and pinned the ensemble to a headband.

Hearing seared me: my neighbor’s spit dissolving venison between its teeth, the cat on the first floor breathing on the window’s glass, a rustle in the crisp leaves below the old alder across the way.

I robed my neck in a fur stole, painted my face with whiskers, felt a coarse growl fill the low space of my throat. Just under my chin I fastened the GPS tracking collar, a hand-forged mechanism made from a headlamp and tinfoil. I left quietly, a cloud slipping over the moon. Continue Reading