Get our latest essays, archival selections, reading lists, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
My father showed us his Kirlian photography kit, where you take a picture of something living, like a leaf or a worm, and an aura, a light, a coronal discharge, appears around the form of the leaf or the worm. Now halve the leaf or the worm and the light retains the shape of the former whole. It’s a mystery, a mystery to explore. The astral leaf, the worm ghost. Oh but think nevermore that a part can be removed from the whole, or that we do not expend ourselves at every moment, continuously replenishing the duration. For it’s there in something informal as the air through which you apprehend the stammer of a blur, a cartoon in the attic around the wooden block and doll flax. She writes about the unlived life or things unlived because unapprehended. Then you remember a house that was torn down as the clouds gather above our heads, which in turn sense the shadow of the clouds. Over the smokestacks and foghorns, the books lined with print. Over the snowmelt and suburbs with their spongy lawns. Over the cuttlefish. Over the unlit lamp and the unwoken bed. Over the rivers. Over the bowfin, the carp, the pickerel, the redfin. Over the towers that fell. Over the condos and the geese. Over the war dead, the landfill, the clear-cut, the spider hole. Over Ocean County, Sussex, Somerset, the Garden State, the state flower, the knobbed whelk, the dinosaur bones. Over the music and the bones. Over Ten ’n Ten Nails, the Pep Boys, the gun shop, the common gray squirrel, the bears and the deer, the road kill, the purple heart. God bless our beloved son on the cross by the light, Route 1. Over the memory grave, a wreath of plastic flowers from the Dollar Store ringing the cross and every season the flowers replenished, like lilies-in-waiting or violets asleep.
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
The vast hinterlands of the Global South’s cities are generating new solidarities and ideas of what counts as a life worth living.
Protests in China are shining a light not only on the country’s draconian population management but restrictions on workers everywhere.
Support us with a donation this giving season.