PERSONAL ESSAYS
A Response to Daffodils in Mexico City

“ ¿Unas flores, señorita?” the flower vendor asked. He picked up another bunch. "¿Violetas?" he inquired. "¿Astromelias?" He took them out so that I could see the drooping pink petals. "Narcisos," he finally said. I felt the name with a pang but could not recall its English translation until he held up the yellow bouquet. Fair Daffodils. With delight, I paid for the flowers thinking of Robert Herrick. Herrick was an English poet who once wrote, "Fair Daffodils, we weep to see / You haste away so soon."

Watching People, People Watching

The people we’re watching are watching. It has long since been remarked that this dynamic makes us perpetual performers, always on stage in front of […]

The In-Betweens

Bursting into the kitchen, in a twelve-year-old’s piercing soprano, I started a fervent reading of Wong Wai’s “Yearning” in Cantonese. My mom was unimpressed, even after my five-minute lecture on how, prosodically, Cantonese makes the poem that much more meaningful. Scoffing, she said: 「相思你識條鐵咩」 (loosely: “what the hell do you know about yearning?”). In that moment, though, I felt like I did know what it was like to yearn — for validity, if not anything else.

PERSONAL ESSAY: The Pole Climb

  The pole seared into my right shin as I hung four feet in the air. Sweat developed between my death-grips and the stainless steel. […]

HUMOR: Inventing (H)Anna(h)

Here it was, dropped into my lap, the Next Big Story.

NONFICTION: Carcass Balancing

The walk-in freezer is stuffed with carcasses. The air is fragrant with oxidation and decay. Sunlight glints across the weathered orange skin of the lambs […]

NONFICTION: Unearthed

A hazy summer day in first grade. Dani and I were sitting on the steps of her grandfather’s house. Our mouths and hands dripped mango […]

NONFICTION: Tor Olsson’s Reputation Precedes Him

The Legend of Barefoot Kid crosses state lines two weeks into the school year, when my friend Lila calls to tell me about the insane […]

NONFICTION: Yamaha, Jr.

For my ninth Christmas, Dad bought me a right-handed Yamaha FG-Junior acoustic guitar. I was left-handed and so furious with my father for handicapping me […]

NONFICTION: Watery Vignettes of Where We’ve Been, of Where We’re Headed

Nước: the Vietnamese word for country and water.   Nước mắt chảy xuống. Tears flow down, my mother tells me. By which she means: a […]

PERSONAL ESSAY: Rusted Dawn

Laopopo: great-grandmother Laogongong: great-grandfather In Shandong, mountains rise like fists from the earth, and pagoda trees blossom, releasing wild fuchsia plumes between the ancient fingers. […]