After the radiation ruined her lungs, / and they’d drained fluid once a month, / then every other week, then every day, / my grandma said she wanted to go / home.April 2023
Because he didn’t think girls don’t like dinosaurs. Because he didn’t assume / he was entitled to have sex with me because he bought me a taco. / Because our date was an hour. Because what he gave me was light / and easy to carry.March 2023
What’s on my mind lately: How to survive the winter alone with a roaming catamount who needs a snack. I asked advice from the guy who plows our driveway. “What should I do if I see it?” He stuck his head out of the truck window: “Don’t act like food.”March 2023
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
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.
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?
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—December 2022
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.October 2022
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.August 2022
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.August 2022
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”August 2022
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.August 2022