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The Dog-Eared Page

Selected Poems (And A Conversation)

As part of our ongoing celebration of the magazine’s fiftieth year in print, we asked Ellen Bass and Danusha Laméris to choose a poem by the other for this month’s Dog-Eared Page. We start with a conversation in which they discuss their shared history and why they selected the poems that follow.

The Big Picture
Ellen Bass

I try to look at the big picture. / The sun, ardent tongue / licking us like a mother besotted / with her new cub, will wear itself out. / Everything is transitory.

The Cat
Danusha Laméris

After my brother died, his wife was sure he was living / inside their cat, Rocky. He’s in there, she’d say, staring into / those blank, yellow eyes. Isma’il? Isma’il? Can you hear me?

By Ellen Bass & Danusha Laméris January 2023
Fiction

Frights

Ellie was a bedroom ghost: a dream-visitant, a gentle levitator, a classic cold-sweat presence-in-the-corner, but she felt under-sung. It’s not like the old days, she told us. They attribute everything I do to Ambien—

By Allegra Hyde December 2022
Fiction

Bottom Feeders

I feel close to Dad on the drive home, our legs mud-dry and tired, the tackle box between us, the pillowcase full of fish and ice. She’ll never admit it, but Mom will be impressed, I’m sure. In a million years she’d never guess how we caught so many. I’ll never tell.

By Peter Short October 2022
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Luminescence

In the backseat on long car rides home from my grandmother’s house in southern Illinois, I cataloged light sources in the dark: gazing at flare towers burning above oil wells, watching the taillights of faster cars shrink to pinpoints, following the sweep of flood lamps up the domes of concrete grain silos.

By Steve Edwards August 2022
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Bat Season

These were strange and intoxicating expeditions. At the cliff-lined ends of forest-service roads or the edges of muddy cattle tanks, or in the cricket-loud groves where saguaros gave way to oaks, I would help stretch nets on moonless evenings. Bats fluttered into the thin weave and were trapped, toothy and screaming.

By River Reyes August 2022
Poetry

Selected Poems

I count out the dog’s pills — one for pain, / one for swelling, five to oil those scraping joints — / a rosary I pray will go on forever. I believe / I am staving off the inevitable.

from “Devotion”

By K.T. Landon August 2022
The Sun Interview

The Great Decline

Shanna Swan On The Worldwide Drop In Fertility

Frisch: You found about a 1 percent decline in sperm counts per year.

Swan: Yes, which would mean a 50 percent decline over fifty years. We’re actually seeing something a little steeper than that.

By Tracy Frisch August 2022
Quotations

Sunbeams

The emergence of intelligence, I am convinced, tends to unbalance the ecology. In other words, intelligence is the great polluter. It is not until a creature begins to manage its environment that nature is thrown into disorder.

Clifford D. Simak, Shakespeare’s Planet

August 2022
The Dog-Eared Page

Plastic: A Personal History

How can I find a way to praise / it? Do the early inventors & embracers / churn with regret?

By Elizabeth Bradfield August 2022
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Beetle King

My chest, which was beginning to grow round in the wrong places, had to be hidden under a T-shirt no matter how hot or sweaty I became. Out in the desert I had to squat behind the cover of creosote bushes to pee. At home in my family’s Airstream I was my parents’ youngest daughter, but up in the paloverde I felt like one of the boys.

By Zoë Bossiere July 2022