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Image of wrenches stacked messily against black background

Crawl Space

MELANIE S. SMITH
The basement crawl space is tinged with dread. And a little bit of pride too. Because both my late husband John and my father—and even the firefighter I had to call when it flooded—hated the idea of having to go in. The dimly lit space is only eighteen inches high.

Woman sticking her head from behind a car, upside down.

Learning from Las Vegas (Air) Strip

ZOE VALERY
In the margins of the Strip, planes shimmer in and out of Las Vegas. I photographed this periphery, populated by plane watchers. Why they watch and why I write seem to be connected by a tenuous link that became clearer as the afternoon transpired.

A wooden model of a house hangs from a tree branch

The Desire Tree

MEERA NAIR
I imagine the tree’s hanging roots and its giant trunk as conduits, which, along with its rising sap and the susurration of its leaves, convey the deepest longings and the secret stories of its devotees, all that clamorous human need, up to the silent gods hoping they are out there.