Issue 424 | The Sun Magazine

April 2011

Readers Write

The Back Door

Catching fireflies, caring for a newborn calf, hearing a slamming door for the first time

By Our Readers
The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from

Billy Pilgrim padded downstairs on his blue and ivory feet. He went into the kitchen, where the moonlight called his attention to a half bottle of champagne on the kitchen table, all that was left from the reception in the tent. Somebody had stoppered it again. “Drink me,” it seemed to say.

By Kurt Vonnegut
Sy Safransky's Notebook

April 2011

Sure I work hard. So do many other people. I try to remember something my friend Robert once said: “All those doctors who complain that they worked so hard in medical school — compared to who? Someone who digs ditches all day? Someone who works two shifts at McDonald’s?”

By Sy Safransky


All wars are wars among thieves who are too cowardly to fight and who therefore induce the young manhood of the whole world to do the fighting for them.

Emma Goldman

The Sun Interview

Fighting With Another Purpose

Veteran Paul Chappell On The Need To End War

Imagine if America’s reputation around the world were strictly for providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief; if, whenever there was a disaster, the Americans came, helped, and left. Then, if terrorists attacked the U.S., world opinion would be on our side. We wouldn’t have to defend ourselves against terrorists; the rest of the world would do it for us.

By Leslee Goodman
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Two Wrongs

I have a rooster named Henry. He is what’s called a “Barred Rock,” which means he is white with black specks — or maybe black with white specks; it’s hard to tell. In his large and elegantly plumed tail he has one iridescent green feather. The spurs on the back of his legs are two inches long and come to sharp points. He has a brilliant red comb and red wattles and is, all in all, a handsome rooster. Sometimes parents who walk by on the road with their kids stop to admire him.

By Sybil Smith
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Reading Isaiah In Chiapas

The Virgin crested the hill, and a man emerged from his doorway and gave a shout. Others rushed from their huts. Perched on a dais borne on the shoulders of four men dressed in leather sandals and white tunics, she descended the narrow dirt trail toward the Mexican village. Behind her a long procession unfurled over and down the hill.

By Fred Bahnson

CJ The Prince

You can’t breathe, yes, but it’s not because you feel punched in the gut. It’s the cold. The cold that sank in so fast and deep, your insides are freezing. All ice. And the radio in your brain is playing Rigo’s words from just a week ago: “CJ goes anywhere. It’s like he got a pass. He’ll hit the barbecue in the projects, hit another on Grape, stop and shoot dice with Swans on his way home. CJ’s dad is like royalty, and CJ the prince, man. CJ one guy they just let be.”

By Daniel Larson

All Their Riches

My English wasn’t always this good. Once, I stood before an impatient pharmacist, touching my son’s throat and saying, “Sick,” and, “Help.” I stuttered in fear buying a bus pass or a sack of oranges. I set a microwave dinner afire on the stovetop because I couldn’t read the four sentences of instructions.

By David Yost


A kid you teach at juvenile hall tells you his father is on death row.

By Alison Luterman

The Twins

The five-year-old twins who wandered / From their yard were finally found

By Eric Nelson

To The Tender

Midsummer, and along came a hapless jay — / blue and wobbling — flight feathers nothing more / than pins of white.

By Kristen Tracy