In a Land Strange to Us

translated from Italian by Allison Grimaldi-Donahue     3 March 2002 We saw each other in a land that was strange to you, the first time: me on the other side of that metal detector, hoping you would make it … Continued

Up Up

  The elocution lessons have been a great success! It is a matter of biting and swallowing. Clean bites and frequent sorrows. It’s so terrible—nothing is the god of me. I’m a grassy pit, I’m organized   around nothing, a … Continued

Two Yellow Titmice

Translated from Chinese by Jennie Chia-Hui Chu   My big brother Da Ge, who was the son of my father’s first wife when they were still living in the country, was much older than me. We weren’t close. He spoke … Continued

Why Not Minot

    The welcome arch read Only the Best Come North & my parents laughed tongue-in-cheek at another cross-country Air Force move. In fifth grade, I learned about America & the Dakotas & the Cold War & elections as Reagan … Continued

First Period

Brave Mrs. Kenley turns her back on the first grade, and like a grass fire, from raw blade to raw blade, enmity spreads.   Mr. Hawkins twists paperclips around his knuckles.   Mrs. Thompson and Mrs. Hall sit at their … Continued

White Deer

  I saw the white deer in the clearing. I lowered my bow. That planets don’t collide on a more regular basis is one of the wonders of, say, sleeping through the night. The white deer bent its head, browsed … Continued

Why Babel Fish?

I’ve been thinking about this theme of Babel Fish for almost a year now, and it’s never stopped seeming like a broad and suggestive portal for the pieces gathered here. For those who aren’t familiar with Douglas Adams’s 1979 novel … Continued