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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Seven Days In A Sea-Creature Town

Decorah sat in the impact crater of an asteroid that had struck the earth hundreds of millions of years ago. One of the extinct giant sea creatures exhumed from its crust — the shrimp-looking Pentecopterus decorahensis — had been named after the town.

Gritty All Day Long

I thought tryouts went great. I played catcher, just catcher. You may ask, How solid was my receiving with that lingering double vision? Well, I’m happy to report that squatting behind the plate was a miracle cure.

What To Expect

Try to avoid symbolism and metaphors, and leave fate out of it, too. Fate was not preparing you for this loss when you were an eight-year-old farm girl and held that stillborn piglet for hours in the barn.

A Shrinking World

Let’s put aside, for the moment, the thought of mass extinction. . . . Even if that is our eventual due, life will first look and feel different. Life as we know it won’t suddenly end, but it will be crimped; in many places, it already is.

The Button

The little button lying in my hand brought the violent history of the place to life. For a moment war wasn’t just pictures in textbooks. I could feel the residue of it, the half-life of violence.

Stolen Time

Blind luck put me on this yard where the men have decided to make good use of the empty time forced upon us by the state. Yard A is downright peaceful, nothing like the prison yards where racist convicts stab and assault people.

Cop Diary

Over the past year, more than a hundred people have worn my handcuffs. Not long ago, in a self-defense class, I wore them myself. . . . The catch of the steel teeth as the cuffs tighten is austere and final, and never so much so as when it emanates from the small of your back.