Our Birds

by John Nelson

It was among the first birds my wife and I spotted on our first outing in Guatemala, in a busy grove beside a pond on a lush hillside. It’s not a hard bird to identify, a rich blue above, rusty-chested, … Continue reading

The Sad Autoerotica of Crawfish Etouffee

by Matthew Gavin Frank

When the old woman with no upper lip tells you, in the Faubourg Marigny, that to pluck a crawfish from the bayou is akin to the tying of a silk scarf around one’s neck, that, as these little freshwater crustaceans … Continue reading

Have You Ever Seen Such a Sight in Your Life

by Roberta Payne

“Sicko! Weirdo!” A moment of silence. Then the young woman started over. She was in the observation room, to the north of the day room. It was where they put the worst patients when they first came in, people who … Continue reading


by Julie Wittes Schlack

It was a bright, moonlit Sunday night on March 14, 1966, when Frank Mannor’s dogs began barking frantically. Frank and his nineteen-year-old son Ronnie went outside their ramshackle farmhouse to investigate.  In the distance they saw lights and a faint … Continue reading

The Face-Blind

by Gary Fincke

1 Once, discovering a crying child in a Pittsburgh department store, I knelt to ask that girl the lost and found questions, her name, her address, and who had mislaid her in Gimbel’s, a store that featured thirteen floors of … Continue reading

When the Plow Broke the Plains

by Keith Rebec

the desire for rain was so strong folks killed snakes, hung them belly-up from fences. In between the blankets of dust and half-buried children, the miles of crisp carcasses stretched over barbed-wire, men dropped to their knees, many for the … Continue reading

Breaking a Window on the World: The Poetry of Marie Howe

by Dante DiStefano

In a murderous time/ the heart breaks and breaks/ and lives by breaking. —Stanley Kunitz (from “The Testing Tree”) …We were still men,/ but maimed.  Another kind of hurt lodged/ where happiness had smoldered, another kind/ of ruin, and summer … Continue reading