Hatbox Elegy

On June 11, 2013, I went to confession. I wept the whole time. On the wall of my room at home hangs the lid of a hat-box. It was a cardboard hat-box; I say “was” because I have no idea what happened to the actual box. I decorated it—box and lid—at a Quaker retreat once,… Continue reading Hatbox Elegy


On Compost and Mambas

My family has always promoted the organic-free-range-no-high-fructose-corn-syrup lifestyle. I say “my family,” but really I mean my parents; I was usually an unenthusiastic participant in the community gardening and Tom’s of Maine toothpaste purchasing. In keeping with middle-class environmentalist philosophy, we kept a delightfully putrid compost pile nestled in the pachysandra shrubs of our New… Continue reading On Compost and Mambas

The New Scarlet Letter: Hester, Donald, and the Failure of Shame

In a moment, however, wisely judging that one token of her shame would but poorly serve to hide another, she took the baby on her arm, and, with a burning blush, and yet a haughty smile, and a glance that would not be abashed, looked around at her townspeople and neighbours. On the breast of… Continue reading The New Scarlet Letter: Hester, Donald, and the Failure of Shame


Womb Crunch

When I was little, my parents told me that before I was born I was just a glimmer in their eyes. I took it literally. Before birth we hovered in the eyes of our parents, we people-to-be, golden pinprick gleams, waiting for the day we would swim down from the eyes into the dark warm… Continue reading Womb Crunch


Word Map

originally published in the Yale Daily News Magazine On the wall of my dorm room hangs a map. Months after move-in, it refuses to lie flat against the plaster, despite the battalion of Command strips clinging to its laminated corners. The majority of the map is light-blue ocean, with two major landmasses and a smattering of islands.… Continue reading Word Map



Contemplations from the dentist's chair originally published in the Yale Daily News Magazine I’m staring at my skull. Or, more accurately, my jaw: lower left molars glow in one black-and-white snapshot, upper left molars in another, teeth foreign yet familiar in their eerie greenish cast. The side view, the front view. The gem of the… Continue reading Historodontics