A selection of my essays, articles, and poetry publications.
The light has been returning for two months, but inside their cells the women can’t tell that the sun has just set. There are no windows. The yellow-orange of fluorescents light the halls. Kristin and I meet with the women twice a month, buzz into the detention center from the sidewalk, and wait for the guard to come. We pass through the metal detectors, turn in our driver’s licenses, and pause at three different bolted doors as the guard buzzes each of them open.
The light from the lengthening days makes it feel like anything is possible — for me, for the women in the jail, for the world.
The fifty-two-quart cooler is filled to capacity with bags of frozen green chile. On this three-day journey of over 1,200 miles, from our small hometown in New Mexico to our new home in Missoula, Montana, I have made it my priority to keep the chile from thawing.
To read the essay, purchase Tin House Magazine, Volume 20, Number 4 (The Final Issue)
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."
For Mateo and Diego Romero, being named the 2019 recipients of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture’s Native Treasures Living Treasures award is the ultimate homecoming. Although they have lived in the Santa Fe area for over 30 years, they grew up in Berkeley, California, with a Cochiti father and a non-Native mother. Because their upbringing was so geographically and culturally removed from their Cochiti community, the brothers have always felt like they were straddling two worlds.
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."