A selection of my essays, articles, and poetry publications.
I take my two-year-old daughter to the children’s museum where she likes to pet the corn snake. I watch from a distance, stroking my pregnant belly.
I met her in early January on a sidewalk in Missoula, Montana. It was only nine but it felt past midnight, the dark and cold thrumming along my skin, the stars dagger points suspended in the frozen air.
In “Disembodied,” we see a writer investigating the natural world, her personal history, and the nature of violence and destruction in its many forms—environmental destruction, the destruction of ones own being as a means of survival, destruction in order to save those we love. She weaves together her own story with philosophy, with journalism, with science, with history, with mythology, with poetry, with linguistics, and the results are lyrical and powerful. This essay is a fine balancing act.
--Jaquira Diaz, judge of the 2016 AWP Writers Conferences & Centers Award for Creative Nonfiction
For a longer excerpt of "Disembodied," read online at the Kenyon Review. For the full essay, order the print issue of the Sept/Oct 2017 Kenyon Review.
"There are reasons that the most impoverished communities are the ones where trash clogs the rivers and collects in curb-side gutters. Some days I am quick to point my finger. I mutter about the irresponsibility of my neighbors and scowl at the litter covering their yards. But I know better."
[An essay] about America's culture of waste and what our garbage tells us about who we are and what we value. --Rumpus editors
"I became fascinated by whiptail lizards after I came out. Whiptails are native to northern New Mexico, but I never took much notice of them until I was divorced and learning how to take care of my two small daughers on my own."
"Read all the parenting books you can get your hands on. Recognize slowly that every so-called expert refers to their own experience, their own cultural norms, and to studies with questionable methods. Chuck the books with your new insight that all children are essentially guinea pigs."
For the rest of the essay, order the print Summer 2017 issue of Camas Magazine.
"Missoula comes in shades of greys and blues and greens. Muted colors. Soft on the eyes. It is not a place with red crumbling arroyos, golden yarrow, crimson King Cup cactus flowers, or purple and orange sunsets setting fire to the sky."
"We felt cool there, in the dark, wearing our ripped up jeans and flannel shirts. If Kurt Cobain hadn’t died two years prior he might have been proud of our middle-of-nowhere New Mexico grunge crew."
"I stared hard at the tissue box in defiance. Three “always” responses didn’t mean I had been abused. I had been raised in a feminist household. None of this applied to me."
"When I had parked and removed the keys from the ignition, I twisted around to look at Talia in the backseat and upon seeing her serious and beautiful 7-year-old face, I began sobbing."
In Peru, stark divisions between classes and races can make memory a battleground. Artists who tell their stories are resisting attempts by the government to erase their history—a silencing that serves to perpetuate the violence they have already experienced.
Participating in 150 minutes of exercise a week—just 2.5 hours of walking briskly or another physical activity—could delay an inherited form of Alzheimer’s, according to researchers of a new study.
Air pollution is on the rise, and there’s no question that it’s bad for your respiratory system. Scientists have linked pollution to around 9 million premature deaths and officially classified it as a human carcinogen and a leading environmental cause for cancer deaths. But could air pollution affect the brain, too?
Thomas Haukaas (Lakota) beads like a painter. At first glance, a viewer might simply see colorful animals or butterflies in his soft beaded baby cradles—but a closer look reveals social messages. (…) The inclusion of a same-sex couple on the cradle achieves this subtlety, and sends the message that the men represent one of many versions of what it means to be a family. “We get to define who we are related to,” Haukaas says. “This is who we are and what we are.”
Cat-o-nine-tails, reedmace, bulrush, water torch, candlewick, punk, and corn dog grass. The cattail has almost as many names as it has uses. Humans have taken their cue from the animals over the centuries and continue to benefit from cattail’s nutritional, medicinal, and material uses.
Roxanne Swentzell’s kitchen does not have a refrigerator. Instead, books and large glass jars line wooden shelves. The jars are filled with dried beans, many varieties of corn, dried wild spinach, currants, pumpkin seeds, and grasshopper flour.
"In keeping with the Torah’s commandment to “take challah,” for example, some New Mexico families burn the first ball of tortilla dough just as Jewish bakers burn an olive-sized ball of matzo or challah as an offering before the bread is baked."
"As I walk around my neighborhood, I am perpetually traumatized by sprinklers. I resist the impulse to drag hoses away from sidewalks when I see concrete being watered. I harbor secret longings to sidle into side yards and turn faucets off."
"A global buzzword for decades, ['sustainable'] has been appropriated and misappropriated for decades by a dizzying array of organizations and industries."
"The Penasco Theatre is located in the picturesque mountain town of Penasco along State Road 75--the High Road to Taos. Hand built in 1940 by Amado Roybal, its 16-inch adobe walls were crafted from the dirt in the backyard." p. 60