My dad’s gun

When he was a boy, my dad received a marvelous gift: his father’s own boyhood rifle. It’s a beautiful object. Burnished wood stock, a thundercloud-grey barrel. After my dad died, it was the one thing I really wanted. At this moment – 2:45 a.m., cat stretched beside me in my Durham home, dog twitching on
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Nasty Women poets anthology

Thrilled that my poem, “Imperator Furiosa posts a status update,” was included in this great anthology by Lost Horse Press.
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A sort of/kind of lament

I have sort of a pet peeve. Kind of annoying, to be honest. I seem to be obsessing about it more than usual, as I write this, while the summer heat descends. These three phrases – “kind of,” “sort of” and “seem to be” – have become the frayed edge of the conversational world, the
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“Breaking the Wheel” in Tolkien and Game of Thrones

One freezing Boxing Day, my kids and I watched the extended editions of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy in sequence, with bonus material (how the armor and swords were made, cast hijinks, CGI amazingness) added in as needed. Our marathon lasted over 16 hours. It was delightful. We emerged woozy and satisfied, like (weed-free) Pippin
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The apocalypse of the every day

A little secret about apocalypse stories: they’re rarely true to the cataclysm you are experiencing in real life. Very few of us get off this Earth without experiencing at least gradual disaster, if only aging bodies. In stories, writers carefully craft the moment when everything changes. It’s like an earthquake (or actually is an earthquake).
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Gift of food

I’ve been thinking a lot about Karl. When I was 16, my dad left. I knew what many adolescents know about their parents’ relationship: next to nothing. What was clear is that my mother felt blindsided. For what seemed like weeks, she wept behind closed doors. The house felt like it had detached from the
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Life wins

It’s hard to get around these days without stumbling into a march. The Women’s March on Washington spun off hundreds of “sister” marches around the world, including in several North Carolina cities. On Feb. 11, the Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) march, led by the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the
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A noble tree

It’s not often that Twitter gives me an idea to explore. That the idea came from a stranger dripping snark is also, let’s say, unusual. But here we are, 2017. Twitter is our funhouse mirror, with its improbable orange frame. Hate it, avoid it or obsessively read – Twitter moves our world in dramatic, sometimes
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(silence)

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I’ve been thinking a lot about hope lately. Granted, I’ve had more time than usual to think. That 3 a.m. wake-up call, wherever it’s coming from, has been pretty constant since Nov. 8. The radiator ticks, the cat snores. The willow oak leaves rustle. And I wonder how I got here, how we all got
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