Proximity and Paradox

From earliest childhood–the 1940s in Fairfield, Alabama, I remember there seeing “Negroes” in my house and yard. Needless to say they were there as maids and yard men, paid a pittance and given food and iced tea in dishes/glasses not used by us. But...

Doves

We all have been thrilled if we’ve watched people let groups of doves fly into the sky to mark some special personal occasion like a big birthday or a special rite of passage.  Sometimes these white flyers have been part of a celebration of a life that has...

For Binky

        For Binky perched atop a tiny ladder each holds fast to her balloon oblivious to the children, the party, the camera it’s my birthday–I’m five– just visible above the antique dining table my hair stuck into a wiry rat that itches and...

A Power Greater Than Ourselves

Every morning, unless it’s way below zero, I begin my day by walking about a mile and a half in my neighborhood.  That means I meet the same people walking their dogs, the same children on the way to or standing in line to board the school bus.  It also means in...

What If the Dog Really Did Eat the Homework?

When I began teaching at the University of Minnesota, I was in my late 20s and my students were often in their early 20s or late teens.  As one way of establishing myself as their “professor,” I set up strict deadlines for handing in papers.  Of course a...