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My mother called to tell me that today was her birthday.

North of the Middle

They are both of them, mother and daughter, inflamed by something minuscule, sneezing in tissues, covert sleeves, a hand.


Her parents left her for home some days earlier, the safari they all took together over, so nice to see you, her mother not to be outdone by her daughter’s travel by inviting her to tour Africa’s glamour instead of sleeping on calfskin-strewn dirt in hovels—what do you call them? tukels?—full of actual Africans

London Boy

It is almost midnight.

The Stroke of Midnight

Imperious still, she sat up in her bed set up on the patio surrounding the pool she built that forced a perspective of chlorinated water over the far edge, one that met the ocean so without seam you swam into it with your eyes, swam without the cliff that separated your perspective from one water to the next. Her four sons watched the white glitter of the fireworks in that trick perspective, heard her lover bang at the door that he insisted he owned half of, and drank a little wine. Because it was the New Year’s fireworks, because their mother loved that holiday with its riot of resolutions and absurd abandon, they would’ve given her vodka through a tube if she’d had one.

Acting Out

Now that Jay had agreed to the joint session with her therapist, she couldn’t remember why she had favored the idea in the first place. It was one of those things you did, which is what she told Lorrie over the phone, so that afterward you could say you had done everything (or something) to save your dying marriage. She wondered if she had ever loved Jay—that is, she could no longer remember having loved him—but there was something between them, some intricate bond, that seemed resistant to violations no matter how unforgivable.


He wants me to look hot. So I look hot. As hot as a sixty-year-old woman can look on Halloween without a bra.


“She’s suing me for two million,” the retired entrepreneur says to the other guests, still seated at the table after a huge turkey dinner in the loftlike space of an old but renovated hunter’s cabin, bordering a state park, deep in the woods.

Staples Center

During the season of cold and rain–January and February in Los Angeles– Carlos crawled into the dumpster behind Las Manzanitas apartments to sleep.

High Winds

Sagebrush and succulents. Rounded bushes scattered like clumps of hair. High winds; it hasn’t rained in months. The tumbleweeds are balls of fire waiting to happen.

The Accidental Oracle

Dear Oracle: I’m afraid my PC has turned into one of those “zombie computers” I read about. It’s always up to something, beeping and grinding and popping up “windows” all over the screen with weird alphabets and the filthiest pictures you can imagine.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2007

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