Issue 437 | The Sun Magazine

May 2012

Readers Write


A bout of malaria, a taboo friendship, a long blonde braid

By Our Readers
The Dog-Eared Page


As a country person, I often feel that I am on the bottom end of the waste problem. I live on the Kentucky River about ten miles from its entrance into the Ohio. The Kentucky, in many ways a lovely river, receives an abundance of pollution from the eastern Kentucky coal mines and the central Kentucky cities.

By Wendell Berry


I bought a wastepaper basket and carried it home in a paper bag. And when I got home, I put the paper bag in the wastepaper basket.

Lily Tomlin

The Sun Interview

In Their Backyard

Robert D. Bullard On The Politics Of Where We Put Our Trash

We need a system to determine when a community has already shouldered its fair share. Right now, if someone wants to build a hazardous-waste facility, the EPA or state will assess the risk to nearby residents from that new facility only; the risks posed by the three or four or five polluters already in the area aren’t added to the equation. So there is nothing that might trigger the EPA or state to say that this community is overburdened by pollution.

By Rebekah Cowell
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Faithful Over A Few Things

Faithfully, every week, I visit Elsie, age ninety-two. We’ve been friends for thirteen years. For the first ten she was my neighbor on a street of homes built in the 1930s and 1940s and shaded by large sycamores. Then, three years ago, I left my husband behind in the gray duplex we shared, and ever since, I have driven twenty minutes from the neighboring town for our weekly evening of chatting and bad television.

By Tarn Wilson
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Book Of Job: A Quiz

Recently I came up with the idea of writing a series of personal essays on biblical events. First, of course, I had to read the Bible. But the Bible and I did not hit it off. Children’s Bibles proved to be more my speed, particularly one by Seymour Rossel.

By Marion Winik
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Hurricane

I write this at my parents’ home in Brooklyn as Hurricane Irene is approaching. Citizens are flocking to stores, buying out shelves of food. The mayor and the governor are issuing stern warnings. The television is talking nonstop, calling it a “monster storm,” measuring its winds at 105 miles per hour. This may be the “Storm of the Century.”

By Sparrow
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Feral City

My husband, Lee, was the one who heard the abandoned kittens piping and squeaking like an off-key orchestra composed entirely of piccolos and penny whistles. They were hidden in the overgrown weeds of the front yard, and it was raining. There were six of them, looking like featherless baby birds.

By Alison Luterman
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Summer Evening

It’s summer, and I’m lying outside on a quilt on the grass. The quilt is one of our old ones, thin gray fabric on both sides with lumpy batting in between, top and bottom held together by short lengths of coarse red string pulled though the layers at intervals and tied into knots.

By Carolyn Miller

We Will Sing All Six Verses

We pull into the driveway of the house where I grew up, or where I gave it my best shot. It’s cold outside, but it’s the kind of cold you do not recognize until you are back inside. So much of life is understood by comparison.

By Linda McCullough Moore

The Visit

It was late, & Mary, I thought, was already asleep when I figured to / make another stab at cleaning that insufferably cluttered desk / where I write my poems before turning in for the night.

By Steve Kowit

My Totally Awesome World

My husband has just left for work, and I’m already knotted / by the window, watching him like a dog. I should paw the glass. / I’ve got problems, man. Let’s get that out of the way.

By SeSe Geddes