The wasp

April 5, 2017

At the bottom of the hill, a wasp skittered across my windshield. In the carseat over my shoulder, my son muttered about a train, but his voice slowed as the legs of the wasp touched glass, one foot, then another, then another. Its stinger undulated as it crossed from right to left, and I held my breath though I knew all my windows were rolled up tightly.

The wasp bounced off my driver’s side window, then careened off into the world, where it might threaten someone, or it might not. Inside the car, we remained safe, privileged, behind glass.


No Messiah

April 4, 2017

There is no Messiah, he said. Once this nation’s in its tomb, it’s staying there.

Have you lost all your faith? she replied. Have you forgotten how resilient we are?

He curled his lip in indignation. Who is this we?

We, the people, she said.

We stand divided, not united, he said. No one has been assigned to be the savior this time.

It doesn’t have to be just one person, she replied. Perhaps each one of us, hands together, can move that stone aside.


Where to look for truth

April 3, 2017

During the spring’s unexpected snowstorms, the pine tree across the street lost branches. A rock in the creek out back halved, cleaved by ice as strong as a chisel.

I don’t recognize our land, she said, suddenly more tired than she had ever been. They’d gotten word their child’s free meals at school might be cut, and she fixated on the grocery budget every minute she wasn’t worried about something else.

She had grown up believing the daily words about the flag and the Republic. Now, adrift in unseasonable cold, she didn’t know where to look for truth.


Approval ratings

April 2, 2017

There was no denying the plummeting approval ratings, which he understood because of his television work, because he knew how quickly the network cancels shows when people stop watching.

He began to look in the mirror for long minutes each morning, trying to get out of his own head, trying to see what might be so unlikeable. I’m a handsome guy, he thought. I know lots of things. Many things. Big things.

What confused him was how everyone was watching, but still, the ratings dropped by the day. This didn’t track with anything he’d experienced before.


The April Fool’s edition

April 1, 2017

The editors, who had had entirely enough, gathered in a conference room.

This might harm our reputation, said one who was entirely too thin and devoid of humor.

The people who will get it will think it’s hilarious, said the editor-in-chief, and the ones who don’t get it already think it’s true. I see no risk.

They developed a story budget packed with nonsense. Some of it was funny, some of it wasn’t, but none of it was sourced, none real.

I’ve got your fake news right here, the editor-in-chief said, signing off on the list with a grin.


The spirit of revolution

March 31, 2017

I’ve known cowards, she said. I’ve known men who did not know enough to know their own minds. But they were so rarely mean-hearted.

He’s not so much cowardly as stupid, he said. I’ve known men like that, and the stupider they are, the meaner they get.

She thought about the man with the blackest heart she knew, about the night she lay crumpled, waiting for him to leave. She thought about all the times she’d said no and had been overridden.

I can’t take much more of this, she said, and the spirit of revolution rose inside her.


Less blessing, more mask

March 30, 2017

Spring arrived with such powerful perfume I could barely stand to be outside. On my pre-dawn morning walk, it felt as if the world had exploded in blossom, pollen dust shimmering in the glow of the streetlights.

Despite allergies, I tried to breath as deeply as I could, savoring the season’s brevity and beauty, but then I thought about the divisions rotting the nation, the stench of misused power, the long march we’re taking through brimstone, and suddenly it seemed as if the perfume was less blessing and more mask, covering up the odor of politics gone wrong.