All posts tagged: Dispatch

Perfectly Spaced

By LIESL SWOGGER 

Image of two girls dancing

They jog past my window. A clump of three white-haired men, a tight pyramid formation, the front two shoulder to shoulder, the third right on their heels. And I’ll be honest, my first thought is not charitable. “Fucking men,” I think, taking a swig of my coffee. “They never think the rules apply to them. Do they think they’re invincible?”

Perfectly Spaced
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Going Home

By KAREN KAO

A photograph of a graffitied window

The road to Amsterdam

Our plan was always to go home to Amsterdam at the end of March. By then, we will have been on the road for 200 days. But now home is the new coronavirus epicenter. The projections are that the Netherlands will follow the pattern set by Italy. With only so many hospital beds, respirators and medical staff, Dutch doctors will have to triage. They will treat the younger patients with a higher chance of survival. The others are on their own.

We have no good choices. Staying on the road presents its own dangers. Hotels are vectors for infection. So are restaurants and public transportation for so long as they stay open. We could hunker down in an AirBnB. But who will tell us when the lockdown begins or ends?

Going Home
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A Sliver of Wild

By CINDY CARLSON

 

Coastal Virginia

Sunday morning, Buckroe Beach. It’s early, before the kids and kites and coolers. A different crowd is here. Another breed of beach-lover.

A small group of Baptists emerges from the water’s edge. The men, burly and robust, call and jostle in boyish exuberance. The sisters, in flowing white, hover around one woman wrapped in a maroon beach towel like a rescued bird; damp curls cling to her forehead. She is radiant.

Just past the pier, the yoga class that started a few weeks ago has already doubled in size. The backsides of fifty-plus downward-facing dogs in every possible size, shape and color, stretch toward the heavens.

A Sliver of Wild
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Public Survey

By NILUFAR KARIMI

Public surveillance footage of Tehran, Iran, depicting street stones

Tehran, Iran, through public surveillance footage

all begins slowly like anything else. night. two birds walk together through a cobblestone alley.
the rooster first, then the hen. if I were to invert this order, begin again. there is a pile of bags

a pile of white cloth sacks. the objects transform themselves as I write. two bicycle
tires over the sacks to restrain them. a waiting for the image to come from darkness.

Public Survey
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A Geology of Memory: Whiteside Mountain, North Carolina

By GREGORY ARIAIL

Image of mountain

Romanes, Whiteside Mountain from Road to Grimshawes


Whiteside Mountain, North Carolina

Some call it the world’s oldest mountain. Once, millions of years ago, it was Mount Everest.

Quartz and feldspar stripe the cliffs of this vast pluton, which looks burnt, as if it had survived some great conflagration or were, in fact, a meteorite scarred by its descent through the atmosphere.

A Geology of Memory: Whiteside Mountain, North Carolina
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A Delta Hereafter


By ASHLEY STIMPSON 

Image of a wall with writing

Brinkley, Arkansas

The catfish arrives curled and snarling with grease, alongside fat disks of white onion, green tomato relish and wrinkled packets of tartar sauce. I proceed through it clumsily, betraying my Northern-ness, but I guess that much was plain when I opened my mouth.

As if she’s read the questions in my notebook, the waitress wipes tables and worries aloud to her only other customer.

A Delta Hereafter

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Saudade

By DIPIKA MUKHERJEE

Itaparica, Brazil
Itaparica, Brazil

The voluptuousness of misery

—Machado de Assis

In Itaparica, the beach broods
under ruddy sky. Two fishermen
and I search waves spitting
shells: ribbed green, a crown
for a queen; a conch; an obelisk;
a whorled shell; a thin swell
pink modica of a disc.

Saudade
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Following My Daughter’s Fitting for a Prosthetic Eye

By JONATHAN FINK

Image of building and sky

Miami, FL

“I am fascinated by the beauty of sight,
but I never crave for it,” a blind actor says,
brushing his fingers across the petals of flowers
in a softly lit bazaar.  The camera tracks
from his hand to his grey-tinged hair
as a market breeze circles his linen shirt
and bamboo chimes patter the air.

Following My Daughter’s Fitting for a Prosthetic Eye
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A Cabin and a Dog

By SUSAN HARLAN

Cabin in Fries, VA

Fries, VA

I like to find quiet mountain cabins where I can read and write over the weekends, and I always take my dog Millie. She’s a 60-pound tan dog with pretty eyes. A mutt. I got her at a nearby shelter nine years ago, and now she’s eleven.

A couple of years ago, we started going to a cabin in Virginia, about an hour and a half from my home in central North Carolina. The cabin was built in the 1940s, and it’s a ways down a bumpy dirt road, with no marked street address. There’s a creek on the property and a one-mile trail behind the cabin to the New River.

A Cabin and a Dog
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Dry

By JAMES ALAN GILL

Image of mountains in sunlight

Phoenix, AZ

People are fine talking about sobriety if you turn it into a dad joke: I came to the desert to dry out. But that’s not why I came here. Not initially.

Two years ago I found myself completely untethered. Divorce, job loss, foreclosure, bankruptcy, career change, new city, another relationship ended, another job lost. To quote Fitzgerald, “I had been a drawing on resources that I did not possess…I had been mortgaging myself physically and spiritually up to the hilt.” But I kept telling myself that I was in control, to just keep moving. I had daily panic attacks and high blood pressure. And I drank.

Dry
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