Winter 2017

The Beauty and Violence Beneath our Feet

My feet slid on stairs made slick by light rain and overgrown grass. I bent and grazed my hand over each cement step to be sure it was really there: The path was too...

A Moken man leaps spear first into the waters off Ma Kyone Galet.

Into a Disappearing Deep

A beautifully muscled body soars to the apex of a majestic leap, painting a perfect arc over my head. Clouds billow in the late afternoon sun and light glints on the sea. The diver’s...

Author Louisa Deasey's father in Saint Clair.

A Poet, a War, and the Letters from Saint Clair

As the bus pulled into Saint Clair after the long journey from Toulon in the South of France, I finally let myself believe I’d see it: The place my dad had stayed almost seven...

Moulay Idriss, Morocco

Scalded, Sanded, and Smeared

This place should come with a warning sticker. You know, like the advisories on the outside of certain compact disc cases: “Explicit content.” A sign that says “Fat, Middle-Aged, Pasty Guys: Beware”…

Borama, Somaliland: My First Heartbreak

The dirt from Borama, wrenched from the earth and hurled down in swirling cyclones before a thunderstorm, seeped into me. It would stay for weeks beneath my fingernails, no matter how hard I scrubbed....

A Note from the Editors

It first emerged with a Big Sur ocean view. Just a glimpse of it. A few months later, it followed us to a lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains and we got to know...

Black-footed albatrosses on the sand

You Should be Dancing

I had to pee. I got up from my cot, unzipped the flaps to my Weatherport tent, and stepped out into the breezy tropical night. It was a new moon. It was dark and...

Engineers and conductors of the negus train

The Last Days of the Negus Train

Dozens of people rushed around me on the dusty train platform before dawn. Female Somali merchants appeared out of the darkness like ghosts, their colorful veils long and fluttering around them. I watched as...

Hunting the Lost Beer of the Incan Empire

When the bar owner placed the lukewarm glass of cloudy, phlegm-colored beer in front of me, I could tell the description “it’s an acquired taste” would be an understatement. I had crisscrossed a Peruvian...

La Vía Poética

How a poem is born on a pilgrimage to Pablo Neruda’s homeland [The poet’s] raw material consists of elements that are and at the same time are not, of things that exist and do...