All posts tagged: Dispatches

Wisdom

By HUGO DOS SANTOS

Hunterdon County, NJ

Rows of green crops under a blue sky

The rows of crops are avenues. The days succeeding like a shuffled deck in the deliberate hands of a dealer. The man speaks: Kid, you got a girl? The kid answers: Of course. Their wrists are strong. Their fingers are agile, sure under the bruising sun that browns and leathers their skin.

Sunna JuhnWisdom
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Daniel

By SUSAN VOLCHOK

New York city streetsNew York City

Someone else, handing him leftover pizza, told me his name just the other day. As if it makes any difference whatsoever, my knowing his name, having watched him wander the neighborhood for at least two years now. Commercial rents are too ridiculous even for Café Corner: he’s been bedding down on the sidewalk fronting one side or the other of the former Figaro since the beginning of 2016. You’ve probably seen him yourself. He is harder to look at than some, a disfiguring cyst sprouting from his filthy forehead like a monster’s evil eye.

Isabel MeyersDaniel
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Sachem’s Path

By MARY BERGMAN

Nantucket, MA

 

We became homeowners in the middle school cafeteria. School had been out about a month, the halls eerily empty, except for the huge skeleton of a humpback whale suspended 20 or so feet high above. It washed up on shore some years back, it’s bones bleached by the sun and sand. I washed ashore, too.

On Nantucket Island, the median home price is 1.2 million dollars. That’s what they say, officially. Most of the homes around the million-dollar mark have kitchens from the 1950s, and bathrooms from the 1970s. The new owners usually tear them down, or turn them into bunk-style housing for restaurant staff. None of us in the cafeteria ever dreamed we’d own anything, let alone a house, let alone here. I balanced on an itsy-bitsy red chair, nabbed out of a nearby classroom, something fit for a first grader. My knees were in my chest when they called my number.

Madeline RuoffSachem’s Path
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At Dinner the Lady We Are with Makes a Joke about Mosquito-Borne Illness

By SARAH CARSON

New Orleans, LA

Restaurant

I am already six hurricanes deep when Beth lets me into her bathroom stall at the Bourbon Street restaurant where we’ve stopped for after-dinner lemon tart and port wine. She is crying, and I am not. I am rum-laden, as always, and she is not, obviously, and I do not think of how ironic my middle school guidance counselor would find this, that there would someday be someone in the world who would open a bathroom stall for me instead of the other way around.

Debbie WenAt Dinner the Lady We Are with Makes a Joke about Mosquito-Borne Illness
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The Hat

By SCOTT LAUGHLIN

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest

At this moment, it is night in Budapest, and a woman has left her hat in a restaurant. This restaurant is in Buda, yet she is already crossing the bridge into Pest. Yes—perhaps you didn’t know—Budapest is not one place but two places split by a river. Like the woman separated from her hat. Perhaps we are all schizophrenics.

Debbie WenThe Hat
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Nobody’s Home

By ELLEN BIRKETT MORRIS

Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville protest

I hear the call, one voice:

Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge. This simply cannot be allowed to happen.

Then the response, many voices in unison:

Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge. This simply cannot be allowed to happen.

Light from cell phone screens illuminate clusters of people standing in the street. Around two hundred of us, young and old, parents and children, stand in front of our senator’s condo. The road is blocked on either side by police cars, who mute their lights so they don’t hurt our eyes.

Flavia MartinezNobody’s Home
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El Putxet

By FLAVIA MARTINEZ

Barcelona Montjuic

I woke up early to finish some reading, but have been in bed for hours scrolling through Facebook, with little fingers and tired eyes fixed to the screen, and now it’s 1 pm. Though the streets of Barcelona are sunny most days, only secondhand light teases in from the center courtyard of the apartment building, and sometimes in here I forget what sun is. It’s the only bedroom that faces inward, the one my host mother lived in as a girl. This was her childhood home.

Flavia MartinezEl Putxet
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The Iron-On Labels

By SUSAN HARLAN

Campground and picnic

In the late eighties, when I was twelve, I went to a camp called Walking G Ranch. My sisters went, too. It was in the mountains of California, in Taylorsville, but now I have to look that up on a map because when you’re a kid you never know where you are. It was a working ranch, and we all got up early in the morning to take care of the animals – milk the cows and feed the pigs their slop – and sometimes at night, my friend Anne and I slept in the hayloft. On other nights, we rowed out to a little island in the middle of the pond. It felt immensely far, but it was just a pond.

Flavia MartinezThe Iron-On Labels
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An Almost-Spring Saturday Night, Providence, RI, My Son’s Fifteenth Birthday

By KIRSTIN ALLIO

Basketball hoop in Providence

Three of them are shooting hoops in the echo chamber between our house and the neighbor’s, close clapboard and winter-washed cedars walling in the narrow driveway. Someone is the swaggering smuggler of an enormous speaker, and the bass ricochets off the concrete. There’s a wife-beater, boom box vibe even though it’s Spotify. In my small-town childhood only boys without cars had boom boxes, and they slunk down Main Street blasting Metal to distortion, trailing smoke, projecting danger. The boys at the boarding school up the hill, ravaged stoners, were less aggressive but more alienated.

Isabel MeyersAn Almost-Spring Saturday Night, Providence, RI, My Son’s Fifteenth Birthday
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Letter to a Ghost

By SAMANTHA ALLEN 

Tehachapi, California

tehachapi
When I was twelve I was admitted to the hospital in Tehachapi. We shared a room, the only one open in the rural clinic. You handcuffed to the bed, me straining for air.

Julia PikeLetter to a Ghost
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