Get our latest essays, archival selections, reading lists, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
During the winter of 1967, I was working as a laborer for the Department of Sanitation, removing snow from city streets. I held my wedding in a small, but respectable, bomb shelter, which seemed to surprise no one. Did you know this? Vladimir Mayakovsky's brain weighed 1700 grams, against a human average of 1400, when they extracted it from his dead body. Together we wept. The realization had come too late. Perfect hindsight would have revealed that there was hardly enough oxygen for us to get through our vows in their entirety. In any case, we dared to believe in recycling, immaculate urban landscapes, where guilt comes from. I had been raised a virgin, & my sense was that genuine faith took many forms. What more could anyone hope for? Everyday was like walking into a room packed to the ceiling with white feathers choking its sleepers. Nothing meant something to me. To my surprise, I found that my bridegroom still had large pockets of baby fat on his body. As soon as he fell asleep, I would roll over & bite them. Huge, tremendous tears—but real—rolled down my face. He was as beautiful as a little girl. It was February. I woke to the sound of an infinite corridor crowding my bones with awe. I was somebody's wife.
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
Both regulators and employers have embraced new technologies for on-the-job monitoring, turning a blind eye to unjust working conditions.
But I do miss the hymns, / the small, hard apples with their dimpled skin. I do miss / things.
The vast hinterlands of the Global South’s cities are generating new solidarities and ideas of what counts as a life worth living.