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Category Archives: From the Archive

“The Material,” by Robert Pinsky

The moon-stirred volume of ocean sighed
Coconut tanning-oil and frozen custard.

Birch horses and dragons rode the merry-go-round.

A splinter of the herringbone cedar boardwalk
Might be teased from your finger with a steel
Needle purged of germs by a match’s flame.

“Indelible Ink” by Elizabeth McCracken

Maybe you wonder how a Jewish girl from Des Moines got Jesus Christ tattooed on her three times: ascending on one thigh, crucified on the other, and conducting a miniature apocalypse beneath the right shoulder. It wasn’t religion that put them there; it was Tiny, my husband. I have a buddha round back, too. He was going to give me Moses parting the Red Sea, but I was running out of space. Besides, I told him, I was beginning to feel like a Great Figures in Religion comic book.

“Forgive Me!” by Joyce Carol Oates

For expediency’s sake I am writing this love letter to you, and to you, in duplicate, because there were two of you, D. and N., and neither of you knew of the other, — that is, neither of you knew at the time that the other was also my lover — though you were friendly acquaintances, and both of you knew my husband to about the same degree.

“The Painter’s House,” by Adrienne Rich

Is this the kitchen where she worked and thought
Is that the loft where their bodies fell
into each other The nail where the mirror
hung the shelf where her college books
eyed her aslant
Those stairs would her bare feet have felt?