Nonfiction

Lesser-Known Butterfly Facts

1. No one knows whether butterflies act fromconsciousness or instinct. The in-flight map showed twenty-eight hundred miles traveled when our plane touched down in Fort Lauderdale. Jordan was looking out the window in her Buffalo Bills cap, seeing Florida for the first time. Between us, in the middle seat, Elle scrunched her curly blond hair…

Blood Antiquities, Arab Tears

She stands with other statues and shattered friezes like the debris of some blast or the wreckage of a sunken ship. Her pious gaze and the elegant fold of her robe add a touch of pride to the centuries contouring her face and truncated body. The incarnated goddess of death still stands, dignified and somewhat…

I Have a Rendezvous with Death

I’ll never forget the day I saw my first massacre. Or, rather, its fresh aftermath. It might’ve been in the context of the Ambazonian Crisis. It might’ve been Boko Haram–related. But at the beginning of the video, there’s a mountain of clothed corpses, bare feet and arms smeared in red clay, protruding from the tangle…

Extreme Gardening

It’s an old garden story; it started with the fall. I was making my way across some stones that my husband had set, into a section of my garden that was obscured by weeds—big, shoulder-high ones, upstart saplings, overeager goldenrod, a mass of sprawlers and climbers like wild grape vine and poison ivy. I was…

Minerva

The nurse tells me I have ten minutes to eat the radioactive eggs. “You can eat the toast, too, but that’s optional.” Then in thirty minutes, they will take the first scan. She leaves me alone with my paper cup of eggs and a plastic spoon. “Put some salt on them,” my great-grandmother Minerva says….

Murmurations

The youngest, my only sister, quaked in the bunk bed overhead the night the eldest brother left for college. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “The family is breaking up,” she sobbed. A murmuration of starlings floods the sky one late November sunset. Twisting in dark, iridescent waves in midair, hundreds of thousands of birds move in…

Seized by Insanity

Seized by Insanity

“You all, who will emerge out of the flood In which we have drowned, Remember When you speak of our weaknesses Also the dark time From which you’ve escaped.” —Bertolt Brecht, “To Future Generations” Translation by Terence Renaud 1. “memento mori” The madness began in the fall of 2000, after General Ariel Sharon swaggered up…