Cottage by the Sea

I knew it was her because she smelled like winter– like pine– and a little bit like the sea. I drifted into a memory of us at her parent’s cottage in Maine, early winter — or was it early spring?– wrapped in blankets on the old porch telling stories. Old boyfriends, lost friends, dirty secrets […]


The first time I met my father Maclean Avenue, 1 A.M knees almost touching under the diner booth he told me his mouth full of frosted flakes the corner of his lip dripping milk work hard and be nice to people I was seven remembered the burn from the cigarette how she took my finger and pressed it down […]

Bernie’s Burgers

By the time I was fourteen and Ma lost her third job at the mill, she told me I had a choice between a full-time job or the door. She said it in the kitchen, over a bowl of grits, with the same cool, collected tone she’d had the day she told Pops it was done, […]

The Name is Perla

Back when I used to live with Mama in Tennessee, she told me: Perlita, you might as well get used to it, you can’t get everything you want in this life. And when you do, don’t think it’s easy. For our family, nothing has ever come easy. I don’t remember when I first began picking tomatoes […]