The Tree, The Forest

For months an innocuous blue envelope languished in the action box on my desk. A distant relative had sent a late Christmas card with a printed update (keeping busy with the Methodist church, the Lions Club, local Republican Party activities) and a handwritten note wishing me happy holidays. She closed with a simple request: “Please […]

Liminal Scorpions

I recently found a scorpion on my father’s desk, which I have since stolen. Not a live creature, but a specimen, long pickled in formaldehyde. The handwritten label inside the jar reads: Paruroctonus silvestrii: Las Estacas, Mexico—1971. The scorpion floats in suspended animation, trapped in the jar I now balance on the flat of my […]


[hear the author read this piece by clicking this link.]   Of all natural disasters, landslides are more devastating than most people realize. Worse, they are often triggered by other natural disasters, such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Scientists refer to this as the multi-hazard effect. In one of the deadliest landslides of the last […]

Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy

Ira Sukrungruang’s memoir Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy is a work firmly cemented in the in-between. This first-person account of Sukrungruang’s “adventures” as a Thai-American coming of age in the suburbs of Chicago offers ample opportunity for cultural comparison, a subject fully explored through the retrospective lens of a child version of the author.