I am salt water

When I step off the floating dock into the dragon boat, a clammy band of anxiety cinches my chest. The boat sways precariously as my teammates hop in and adjust themselves, easing their weight to the rails. I white knuckle my paddle, focusing on drums sounding over the water. A moment later, I identify my

A Voice

When I say that I haven’t written anything since my grandfather died, I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. I am not emotionally crippled. His death and my dog’s subsequent euthanasia didn’t dry up some supernatural creative well. I’m exhausted, maybe, but being “too tired” seems a poor excuse for laziness. Part of

The Peabody

“Do you know where the phrase ‘blood is thicker than water’ comes from?” my friend asks. We’re staggering up the massive slope of a dune, ground shifting beneath each step. Sand sieves through the mesh lining of my running shoes, entombing my feet. “No,” I admit, bracing my palms against my quads. My friend isn’t

Breaking the Silence: Part II

Continued from "Breaking the Silence: Part I." Later, on a pilgrimage to reconnect with high-school friends, I visited Montreal. We were freshmen, giddy with the prospect of drinking and dancing, and flush with hormones and history. We played drinking games while watching Dubya declare war, and after we’d washed away our cultural distaste, we filed

Breaking the Silence: Part I

For many of us, violence exists as an abstraction. It’s a well-choreographed fight scene, a clean bullet wound, a statistic. We see violence as something confined to warzones, low-income housing, and dark alleys, or that it’s only exacted upon people who have done something wrong, to people who are “different” than we are. We believe

In Just Spring

When the weather is just warm enough, I pass streams of school children spooling around sidewalk bends. They run as part of some morning PE ritual, following the long concrete path from school to street to orange cone. This cone marks a half-mile halfway point, seems to signal, we are in the home stretch.  

Our Lady of Praying Through It

I first noticed the sign while driving a trunk full of groceries back to the house. I’d managed a particularly frustrating day at work, as you do, and then braved the rush hour crush of supermarket shoppers in the death-trap Kroger parking lot. The prospect of a relaxed evening—laps full of cats, video games, a

Be Heard

When I was a young mischief-maker, my mother took me to the polls. It didn’t matter whether it was a local, state, or federal election—we waited in lines and filed into the red, white, and blue striped voting booths together. Sometimes, if I happened to be very lucky, one of the poll attendants would indulgently