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Monthly Archives: May 2016

The Unbearable Newness of Staying

It can be hard, coming out of a three-year MFA program, to look around and realize it was all temporary. Even as I’ve decided to commit to Ann Arbor for one more year, to the apartment I’ve been in for two years, to teaching at the university that bequeathed me my degree, all around me my people are deciding to leave. I don’t feel left behind so much as I feel that my landscape is evaporating, the Ann Arbor I’d signed up for no longer the Ann Arbor that remains.

“Blood and Water,” by Kelsey Ronan

When my mother fell ill during the Flint water crisis, I drove five hundred miles from Saint Louis, my new home. My mother had been among the skeptics when in April 2014 the city switched its water source from Detroit’s system to the Flint River in an alleged effort to save money.

“Cauliflower Heads,” by Francine Prose

Europe was crawling with adulterous couples. Mostly, for some reason, one saw them at ruins, respectfully tripping over the archeological rubble. Just like regular tourists they seemed to be under some terrible strain, but unlike regular tourists they hardly looked at anything, so that when, say, a lizard streaked across their path, they’d jump and fall into each other with apologetic smiles, more like awkward teenagers than adults risking the forbidden.

Impure Michigan: Introduction to MQR 55:2

When you cross the border into our state, whether on the highway or arriving in an airport, the first thing you see is a sign proclaiming that you have entered something called “Pure Michigan.” As an advertising slogan, this has always struck me as bizarre. For one thing, purity is not a high value of mine; there seems something vaguely Nazi-ish about it to my jaundiced Jewish eyes.