Issue 582 | The Sun Magazine

June 2024

Readers Write

Uniforms

For a job at Burger King, a prison in North Carolina, a girls’ school in Iran

By Our Readers
Quotations

Sunbeams

There are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.

Rosalynn Carter, quoting a caregiver colleague

The Sun Interview

Home Sick

Emily Kenway on the Health-Care Crisis No One’s Talking About

Once we start to recognize that most of us will, at some point, have to step out of our professional role to provide care, then we have to transform how we’re running our economies. At the moment, our economies are relying on these hidden tragedies that befall women behind closed doors. All to keep the wheels of industry turning.

By Mark Leviton
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Guardians

His inability to tell me when he’s sick, the most baseline, possibly the easiest thing to express, means he isn’t expressing a million other needs that are harder to pin down: If his shoes are too tight. If his ear hurts. Once, my son was walking funny. When I looked at his foot, he had a bee stinger sticking out from his toe. Being a parent of a disabled child means I can’t assume anything. I am taking care of his needs, and if I miss a need he can’t express, I’m failing him. I’m always failing him.

By John Vurro
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Gift Shops of the American Wild

The Paradise Inn sits at 5,400 feet on the south slope of Mount Rainier, the highest peak in Washington State. Up here the air is thin and crisp, the colors are saturated, and every breeze carries an aroma of pine and the trill of birdsong. Even immersed in such concentrated beauty, my heart aches. For the hundredth time today I think of Jack, a fellow writer in the graduate program I recently completed. We bonded over our love of books and our homesickness for the Midwest.

By Becky Mandelbaum
Fiction

Charity

Life is funny. For some it’s quickly snuffed out. For others it burns on and on, like a fire fed by kerosene. Stella can’t seem to die. Though she’s eighty-four and can’t walk, and her weight is almost the same as her age, still her heart beats on and her blood courses through her body, the cells scrubbing and knitting like faithful housewives.

By Sybil Smith
Fiction

Compare and Contrast

I just read The Diary of Anne Frank, about a girl who hid from the Nazis. There are many similarities but also differences between us: When she started the diary, she was thirteen, and I will be thirteen in August. We are both girls, and, like her, I have many secrets and depressed emotions. I never hated my mom the way Anne hated hers, but last spring I came close.

By Marian Crotty
Photography

A Thousand Words

A Thousand Words features photography so rich with narrative that it tells a story all on its own.

Photograph By Jolene Hanson
Poetry

My Father Not the Sky

My dad used to wake us up at 5 AM on Sundays / with the vacuum cleaner, saying, Get out of bed, / the day is wasting, and then he’d be asleep on the couch // by nine, just as the sun began to lift its head / over the houses.

By Angela Voras-Hills
Poetry

My Mother’s Disease Introduces Me to My Mother

My mother’s disease wants / to know my name. // My mother’s disease takes / me in // with my mother’s eyes.

By Michael Mark
Poetry

The Wisdom Package

I ask the youngish eye doctor why my eyes itch / and burn and why new floaty bits / of paramecium-shaped debris swim // through my view each day

By Hayden Saunier