The Woman in the Hills

The sierra is skin and seeds  It grows as you see it   Pink and curved like a wet flower Bigger than life  Through the garden and the apricot trees Water hose coiled like a grey snake We walk in a group of five Ingesting everything you shed  With Maria Chabot The architect who became friend The crumbling pueblo two centuries old  Was reborn   It…

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Spiny Oyster Shell

My Orange Beauties His tawny orange eyebrows match the shade of his hair. It’s the same colour as the vintage Navajo earrings he scoops into my hands. They’re made of spiny oyster shell, an ancient coastal animal related to scallops that live up to 50 ft below the surface of the water. They first appeared…

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What’s it like to write a book?

Some writers begin their work with a prayer, and some turn off their Wi-Fi. Others enter the flow when the kids are sleeping. Like Sylvia Plath, like so many women. There are authors who start with the last sentence, which feels God-like and scary. Some, like me, share their work widely along the way and…

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Whenever I think of Sylvia Plath I cry

It’s not a happy cry. It comes from below the surface, where the ovens line up for us. They do that. But the oven isn’t simply about the end or quitting the violence of Ted and illness that led her there. The oven is about her fight for herself and the love for her children.…

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Boomerang Memories

Sabbaticals are twelve golden ticket months that appear in the academic calendar once every seven years. It’s when we get to focus on research, personal development, graduate students, and writing. Travel to a sister institution or to work with colleagues in different parts of the world is often part of these venerated breaks from the…

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The Night is Still Young

Sixty minutes before my date is set to arrive and I begin doing crunches on the pink area rug in my office. Jhona brings his ball upstairs and plunks it down a few feet away from me. He stares with huge eyes in the dark hallway. I’m feeling calm and a little uncertain as I…

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