Most Memorable

Scarcity by Kim Liao

pedestrians in crosswalk can only see jeans and sneakers

He works in mathematical algorithms; I work in failed utterances. In the borders of what language can’t or won’t or shouldn’t say, but does. And vice versa. Sometimes I wish I could explain why this leads to sleepless nights, or how it feels to be overcome by that frustrating yet oh so exhilarating, even sexy, burning fire to simply express.

X-rays Are My Souvenirs by Susan Rukeyser

blurred image of woman on horse jumping over fence

If I were the type to write happy endings, I’d end with the four-foot, six-inch fence. It stood in the center of the brightly lit indoor ring of Cedar Lodge Farm, a show barn in Stamford, Connecticut. It was a November evening in 1982 and my hour was just about up. My mother would arrive any minute to fetch me for dinner and homework.

The Thing That Worked by Ben Jolivet

… So ran the 1988 TV commercial for Time-Life Books’ Mysteries of the Unknown series—something I always associate with my first time. I was 9. And by “first time”, of course, I mean the first time that crippling panic consumed me. After seeing that ad, I couldn’t sleep for months.

Firsts by Nathan Evans

nathan evans

The first time I kissed a girl, it all happened—the way defining events sometimes do—at four in the morning. We were in a student room the size of a large packing crate facing on to what might have been Oxford’s most modern and least lovely quadrangle.

Scraping the Bottom by Nancy J. Brandwein

…We have dubbed him “radio dictator” for his insistence on having the radio permanently tuned to the local Oldies station. Yet, the music, which should provide a bouncy soundtrack for our family vacation, pushes me into treacherous territory—the gap between what I once thought my romantic life would be and what it has become.

Holy Tribunal by Jane Hammons

Jane Hammons holy tribunal paperwork and ring

When I open the envelope containing a notice from the Diocese of Oakland that my EX of several years has petitioned for a Declaration of Invalidity, my first reaction is to laugh and toss the paperwork into the recycling bin. But the words toll like solemn bells throughout the day. Ecclesitasticum, Ajudication, Decree of Constitution. In the grip of the language as I had been some twenty years ago when I made the mistake of converting to Catholicism, I retrieve the paperwork.

Trivial Pursuits

Kim Dalferes

My challenge is—and always has been—that I’m not particularly good at any one thing. I’m not much of an athlete (OK. I have zero hand-to-eye coordination; it’s a good day if I get the pantyhose on straight), I can’t sing, and trust me you don’t ever want to see me try to dance. I could say I excel at making lasagna, but even my success here is attributed to Aunt Mary Ann’s recipe.

Vaseline

tube and tin of vaseline

One of the most unfortunate things about life is that often, the Venn diagram showing the people we are attracted to and the people who are attracted to us simply resembles a circle waving desperately at a much smaller circle across a yawning divide. And the smaller circle is usually full of freaks.