Essays

A selection of published work

PETRO 22

Mosquito

When Winnipeg’s infernal winter finally eases into spring; and the house-high snow dunes shrink into gray hillocks, the last patch of dirt-encrusted ice melts into a slowly evaporating puddle, and the mercury continues its climb; the city transforms into a different kind of hellhole: a pseudo-tropical purgatory where sunstroke can kill you, if the insects don’t devour you first. 

READ MORE . . .  ENGLISH . . . GERMAN . . . SPANISH . . .

THE /tƐmz/ REVIEW

Frozen

My father’s new wife defrosted the freezer. Relics melted, recollection dissolved. Pictures, china, souvenirs disappeared. A large painting of my ballerina mother, posed with arms curved gracefully above her, was exiled to the cobwebbed storage space under the basement stairs.

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ATTICUS REVIEW

Winter Rituals

My mother prepared twelve meatless dishes, including vushka, mushroom-filled dumplings afloat in blood-red borscht; an entire carp in aspic; and honeyed kutia made of wheat, walnuts, and poppy seed that always stuck between everyone’s teeth. Our feast’s rituals were adapted from ancient pagan beliefs once dedicated to fertility, winter solstice, and ancestral spirits. 

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BENDING GENRES (included in The Bending Genres Anthology 2018 – 2019, also published in BERFROIS )

Ten Questions I Asked After Seeing Marathon Man at the Movies

1.) Did you see me in the foyer, buying candy at the refreshment stand?

2.) Did you watch me flirting with the boy behind the counter when he tallied up my coins?

READ MORE . . .

UNDER THE SUN (“Notable Essay” in The Best American Essays 2019, also published in BERFROIS)

Slaves of Dance 

The architect, undeterred by the Poltva River running inconveniently through the site, devised a solid concrete base to stabilize his construction and banished the stream to a subterranean tunnel. Henceforth, the Poltva coursed beneath the Grand Opera House, oblivious to the inaugural gala performance, ignorant of the dramas and comedies that played above, unconcerned by the ravages and holocausts of the unfolding century …

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SONORA REVIEW

Memento

My mother’s little treasure lay hidden in a blue, faux leather jewelry box, just large enough to have once held a ring or, perhaps, a pair of earrings. I found it nestled in a corner of her dresser drawer, peeled away its tissue paper swaddling, and exposed the desiccated vestige of my own umbilical cord.

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VESTAL REVIEW

(LWÓW) (LEMBERG) (LVIV)

The Russian ballet director, People’s Artist of Ukraine, embraced me at the stage door like a prodigal daughter. He led me into a labyrinth of corridors, up flights of stairs, through heavy doors, into the cool darkness of the empty stage.

The footlights went on, and the auditorium’s chandelier began to glow, revealing gilded tiers of vacant, red plush seats.

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SOLSTICE LITERARY MAGAZINE

Wounds and Secretions

Words curved and swayed as they circled and embraced memories, then swiveled and slid past a pothole or jumped over an unnamed chasm; voices surging and waning like the melody of a Viennese waltz from a popular operetta of their youth, my parents’ personal history was a 3/4 time Freudian talking cure without couch or therapist, distinguished by a complete absence of scrutiny or analysis. 

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BERFROIS

Sex Studies

At night, the sperm slithers across my parents’ bed sheets like silverfish, up my mummy’s thighs, into her pee-pee, sniffing out eggs.

It’s incredible that I could have squeezed out through such a tiny opening.

READ MORE . . .

ASSAY: A JOURNAL OF NONFICTION STUDIES 

My NonfictioNOW 2017 (A dispatch from Iceland and an interview with Wayne Koestenbaum)

I lost and regained my balance near a volcanic crevasse, came close to being scalded by escaping steam and, overwhelmed by a fish-heavy dinner buffet, mistook a chunk of whale blubber for cheddar. 

READ . . . Part I: Celebrity and Humility

READ . . . Part II: Celebration and Humiliation

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