January 27, 2022

Of Seasons

Jill Talbot

Long past August in Texas, the heat hangs on, a stubborn guest. Outside, the trees—their branches heavy with green—sweep in the wind. No signs of autumn, no ochre-butterscotch-rust, no sounds of onion-skin crunch, only sweat and swelter, a suffocation. I lean against the doorframe to my porch, weary. A year ago, I stood here talking on the phone with my mother, the two of us misunderstanding each other.

Virginia Woolf described autumn this way: “The nights now are full of wind and destruction; the trees plunge and bend and their leaves fly helter skelter

April 12, 2021

My Beethoven

Kelly Cherry

I have loved Beethoven’s music since before I was born. My pregnant mother, having read that the child in the womb can hear music, played recording after recording of what was then unashamedly referred to as “good” or “serious” music. She wanted to be sure that I would be a good-music lover, as was she. She and my father were violinists. Sometimes Dad gave solo concerts—my mother fell in love with him when he played the Brahms Violin Concerto at L.S.U.—and both of them played in the New Orleans Symphony, but their passion was for

April 10, 2017

Seven Months

Ravi Mangla

In a courtroom that doubles as a mobile office for the DMV, my parents marry for a second time. Under different circumstances this would be cause for celebration, a collective victory for all those kids who saw their childhoods undone by divorce. Under different circumstances I might have bought them a blender or breadmaker (or, more conveniently, a custom license plate). Yet we have only the attending circumstances, which cast the proceedings in an altogether different light. My niece sits on my lap as we watch them recite vows and exchange rings: plain, unadorned bands.

April 10, 2017

Misremembering Chekhov

Rebecca Gould

There are tragedies and there are comedies…a comedy depends on stopping the story at exactly the right moment.—Siri Hustvedt

Chekhov was not my first love. More obviously delectable to a college freshman just returned from her first visit to St. Petersburg and discovering Russian literature for the first time were the thick novels of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. Those “great, baggy monsters” (as Henry James called them) buoyed me up through my first marriage, my frantic conversion to Christianity, and my equally hasty divorce. I imbibed the entire oeuvre of Dostoevsky on a reading binge, hoping

April 10, 2017

Jesus in Berkeley

Sarah Wang

My mother came to America from Taiwan in the early seventies. Her only impression of people in the west was derived from a single source: Jesus. Representations of Jesus were everywhere in Taiwan. As statues, in pamphlets, on hand-painted wood amulets that the devout wore around their necks. Upon arrival in Berkeley, California, her expectations were met with great delight. All the men indeed looked like Jesus. Long hair parted in the middle, beards, flowing robe-like shirts, sandals. Even the women looked like Jesus, though without beards.

No English, was the only English she spoke. This was a