March 17, 2020

A feature essay from the Spring 2020 issue.

I moved to Texas in 2017 and returned often to Dilley. When I would chat with residents—after a city council meeting, at the nail salon, before a cook-off—they’d ask if I was in Dilley to write about how depressing or messed up the place is. Or they’d scoff: I was just another journalist coming to write about the detention center. Or they couldn’t figure out why someone would want to study a town they found so dreadfully boring. In reality, I was struck by how the town is at the crossroads of three industries: oil, confinement, and smuggling. I wondered what it might take to revive a small town like Dilley—and at what cost. I kept sticking around.

March 19, 2019

A featured short story from the Spring 2019 issue.

I understood that he had a crush on me, because there is no service that deserves a greater-than-one-hundred-percent gratuity, but the money seemed harmless when it came out of his wallet, like something he’d found and was simply leaving for me to deal with. And after a month of this, I realized that I was making fifty extra dollars a week because of this man. I wasn’t attracted to him, but I was fond of him, I guess because he gave me fifty dollars a week for remembering that he liked Heinz 57.

September 03, 2019

A Louisiana tribe’s long fight against the American tide—feature reportage from the Fall 2019 issue. 

Today, the island has a spare and haphazard beauty. Almost every day, fishermen stand in clusters along the island road, casting their nets into the ever-widening water. Where the island begins, the road curves left; here, it’s dense with trees before these give way, gradually, and the sky grows wider. On the right side of the road, to the west, runs the bayou, lined with wood-plank bridges that lead to the homes. To the east there is an oil canal, its size becoming apparent as the forest thins.
March 17, 2020

A feature essay from the Spring 2020 issue.

History is, in part, the memories we choose to protect and reinforce, to ensure their longevity and influence. In Thibodaux’s protected memory, sugarcane has endured, plantations have endured, Confederate heroes have endured—but not the massacre.

March 19, 2019

A feature essay from the Spring 2019 issue.

As in all cities, the story of displacement and discrimination is as old as the municipality’s. And while it might seem like a somewhat ahistorical cheap shot to draw a direct, incriminating line from Spindletop’s boom to the swath of corporations that now dominates Houston and its high-risk neighborhoods, the residue of truth is there. Houston, like every other metropolis, abets the long history of industry-induced subjugation that manifests, visibly and invisibly, as endemic environmental racism. It’s written into the city’s code, embedded from day one in the place’s naïve aspirations of itself.

September 03, 2019

Paddling to Walter Inglis Anderson’s Horn Island—a feature essay from the Fall 2019 issue.

As we paddled, my awareness inverted, a shift in perspective that would continue for the entire journey. Though we were headed south, the world was tilted, and as on Anderson’s map, Horn Island was the North Star.
March 17, 2020

A feature essay from the Spring 2020 issue.

I wanted to get away from the noise, but I had nowhere to go. This ended up being a good thing, as I was desperate in writing a story of a religion that was at once immeasurably old while still in its infancy. An unlikely synergy started to form between Felix and me. We were both mixing what raw materials we had. He was throwing coconut shells; I was pounding a keyboard. The noises they produced didn’t sound much different.

March 17, 2020

A feature essay from the Spring 2020 issue.

I wasn’t sure how to explain to a rising high-school junior why I’d followed her and her classmates to Belize. I’d met Pierre-Floyd a few months before during a tour of Frederick A. Douglass High School, the Ninth Ward charter school where she works, and she’d told me, in passing, that she planned to take twenty-five kids to Belize. Pierre-Floyd said she’d been the first in her family to graduate from college and she thought a high school trip she’d taken to Ghana had helped her earn a degree. She wanted to give her students the same experience. 

June 12, 2018

Poems from the Summer 2018 issue.

How convenient when the brain
starts to glow.  You can help
an injured peacock out of the road
without being pecked to death.

March 17, 2020

A featured short story from the Spring 2020 issue.

She stopped short. The dogs would have passed without noticing her, but Seth had to give them a parting yap. In a second they wheeled around and came straight at her, and for all the rest of her days she would recall the awesome beauty of that movement, like they were drilled, no break in stride or even demeanor, just that smooth silent pivot and their eyes locking on.

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