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Breathing the right air

Nothing brings more comfort than a bag of good things to cook, swinging under your arm as you make your way home. Somehow it blots out the rest of the world. In these moments, the entire universe consists of a late afternoon sun, a stray dog and a clump of flowers growing strange and wild in a yard. A hit of basil jumps from my elbows with each swing of the bag, a gift from one of the ladies I buy from the most. I visit markets without intention, just eyes open ready to discover fresh peas, or the first corn. Knowing that these products will disappear as quickly as they present themselves creates a certain form of excitement. Each season offers up this rhythm and without it I might become completely lost.

I think of when we were in Tuscany a month ago, feeling like such a tourist until I wandered out along the highway and found the local vegetable stand. I shoved squash blossoms and tiny tomatoes into a bag, rushing back to our room like I had robbed a bank. I made pasta with them th…

the broken egg


See a picture of a crying infant in rags, with tears on their tiny red face and try to feel nothing. Describe the weapons used, report what kind of gas it was breathing. Condemnations come quickly, without hesitation. Could this be a picture from a few years ago? There is no way of knowing. Could this child have died somewhere else? There is no answer to that question. There is just the news, and faith in a system. I find it maddening, to be caught questioning anything in such moments but the answers are not easy ones. We have all been fooled, over and again. I say none of this to suggest there was no attack. I say all of this because I do not trust much of anything these days. If there is a cracked egg in the box, it feels about he same as reading the news. Something is always broken, hidden, then found much later, far after the emotions have welled up, far after nights spent going to sleep imagining the horror, the sound of people dying, the smell of poison, the sense of things slipping  away into a black nothing. That dream is inescapable.

An explosion, another truck driving into crowds of people, another explosion, another city, another city, and one more city. Trains carrying bombs, men carrying bombs. The wheel turns and turns around the same center, the same unflinching eye. Maybe I am just wishing for once it is a lie, a careful fabrication. And then I understand that a lie like this is worse than the truth.

I know that E got a bad grade last week in math, and we are working to fix it. I know that the outdoor market has returned, and a lady there with missing teeth will bring some spinach for us next week. I know that the neighbors are still renovating, the buzz and rumble of drills does not cease. I know there are little green dots at the ends of branches and that the birds are flipping around a gray sky as they sing.

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