fiction

The last time I ever saw Uncle Abbie he was running through the pristine potato fields beyond our house in Sagaponack cradling america in his arms.

It happens every year. The holidays roll in and they all start crying in their cups about the one that got away or the years that got away or the bygones that won’t stay gone.

I met Doc when we first worked at a resort hotel one long-ago summer. We called him Doc because he was intent on going to medical school. But Doc was no rich kid. He was an orphan, raised by poor immigrant grandparents. Doc was earning enough money to pay his med school tuition by sleeping with hotel guests, widows and wealthy divorcees. Just...

This is the way of the wonder ones into the world,   like the rounds of round stones mouthed by the sea,   molded by passage, curled in the blue-white foam at the edge of their coming through.

My father was a great storyteller, and when my two brothers and I were growing up, he would spin out one tale after another. As a little kid, my favorite was “Skinny Melinny, the Fish Who Lived Under the Sea.”

In Vietnam, there is a green bamboo viper. Marines call it “One-Step.” It bites. You take one step. You’re dead.

Every summer from the time I was 6, I was able to escape the horror of life with my mother and stepfather in Tennessee and visit my dad and Gail, his new girlfriend. He had an apartment in Gramercy Park in the city — New York — and a house in Montauk, at the very tip of Long Island. There was a great lighthouse there, built in the late 1700s.

I am 10 years old, trapped in chubby latency. My father has just picked me up from my grandmother’s house, where I spend every other weekend, to drive me to Sunday school. I am excited because he lets me sit in the front seat with him. This would never happen with my mother there. She says children should never sit up front because if the car...

I’ve survived long enough to remember a time when we all wanted a little personal space, maybe even cherished it, at least here in the city. The too-crowded subways, tight elevators, clustered workspaces, even in the outdoors where it was supposed to feel open, we’d be swept in the undercurrent of bodies moving like a tide up and down the...