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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Shadow’s Speed

I was talking with a friend the other day about marriage, and how hard it is to make a marriage last, how it can seem as futile as trying to make the morning last, or trying to make that first kiss — the one that seemed to go on forever — go on forever.

The Wayward Daughter

I’m at my father’s bedside, his hand resting in mine. His skin feels thin, but his nails grow thick and long, creeping a half inch beyond the rounded flesh. They’re the only part of him that seems healthy. How can the nails keep growing like this when his heart pumps barely enough blood to keep him alive?


Then ahead I saw a small, dark shape perched on the sand, well back from the water. As I drew closer, the shape revealed itself to be a bird, sitting back on its tail feathers. It was vaguely penguin-like, about eighteen inches tall, with black back and head, white breast and cheeks.

Home From The War

I am waiting to turn left at an intersection. A driver cuts me off, we make eye contact, and I am caught in the endless loop of a memory I thought I had left behind eight years ago in Afghanistan. I begin to feel panicked.

Books: Back From The Dead And Goofy As Ever

Characters in the novels of Anne Tyler are imprisoned by people, places, things, by the whole fabric of their past lives, but they dream — some of them — of escaping. Their means of escape is through other people. They envision in the other a life more like the one they want to lead, and their decisions to change are sudden. (The sudden decision to marry is becoming an Anne Tyler trademark). What they discover is that they escape only into themselves, that they have woven the fabric of their lives out of their own personalities and will proceed to weave it again. Our lives don’t have some separate existence; we are our lives. Thus, in Earthly Possessions a woman who longs to escape the household where she is a kind of mother hen is rescued by a convict who takes her hostage in a bank holdup, but soon enough she finds herself taking care of him as a mother would.

Doing What I Do: Writing Poetry

I have been writing poetry, or trying to write poetry, half of my life. The day I was graduated from high school an acquaintance reminded me of an early attempt written in the seventh grade: “if I were a starfish/I’d make a wish.” How concise and simple that poem is!