Spring 2018

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...

Golden Dome Cave entrance at Lava Beds National Monument

Radiant Darkness

The dry landscape populated with low scrub and distant cinder cones rolled for miles in every direction. The sun beat down from a cloudless sky, but I left my jacket on; once inside the...