April 7, 2013
In the early evening, the light touching only the tops of the buildings, I lie in the shadows and watch   three crows flickering on and off as they cross the sunlit sky. Each is a single point oscillating   along the whole length of the sky. They are high up. They open and close »

Third Floor

November 28, 2012
I. The pots on my windowsill catch light along their edges   here and there, the fragile spear of a chive jutting up, a frill of parsley—   small alchemy. It is easy to see, but not to understand   the finite step, from the windowsill into spring morning, curb to the bare   road »

Room without a View

September 17, 2012
The one window in our apartment looks out onto the wreck of an abandoned construction site. The facing building is barely ten feet from our own, separated by an irregular gap that resembles nothing more than a lopsided elevator shaft. The two buildings are built are the same basic principles, with one narrow apartment stacked »
Small Talk

Arbitrary Artifacts

January 26, 2012
I walk into the Beinecke one bitterly cold morning this winter to see two chairs. Inside, the silence wells up like the inside of a cathedral; the walls glow faintly where the sun seeps through thinly-sliced marble. A glass-walled tower filled with books rises imposingly through the center of the room. Inside are some of »


December 7, 2011
The cats came to us having forgotten everything: feral under the leaves, mange-stripped, fierce bones in knotted crouch. We were still peeling plastic from the windows, stacking boxes in their rooms. We were surprised to feel this new, lost along the back roads, everything so green and tangled: black haw, huckleberry, Virginia creeper, yellow forsythia »

Curious Geometries

November 8, 2011
On the first day of Math 190, Michael Frame shows the 80 students gathered in Dunham 220 a picture of a mountain. Thin and slightly stooped, Frame looks out at his class from behind large glasses and a scruffy white beard. Though he at first seems tired, his voice bounces as he begins to teach. »
Small Talk

The Sun Also Rises

September 12, 2011
Eighty years after establishing itself as a meeting place for expatriate writers and artists, Shakespeare & Company is still doing good business in the Lost Generation. Alternative vacationers arrive in droves at the famous bookstore, to take pictures by the iconic green storefront and buy slim volumes by Ernest Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald. Upstairs, »