a faithful and virtuous night


A faithful and virtuous night
Louise Glück

How old he seemed, older than this morning.
He set his books beside the umbrella stand
and went to wash his face.
The cuffs of his school uniform
dangled below his knees.

You have no idea how shocking it is
to a small child when
something continuous stops.

The sounds, in this case, of the sewing room,
like a drill, but very far away—
Vanished. Silence was everywhere.
And then, in the silence, footsteps.
And then we were all together, my aunt and my brother.

Then tea was set out.
At my place, a slice of ginger cake
and at the center of the slice,
one candle, to be lit later.
How quiet you are, my aunt said.

It was true—
sounds weren’t coming out of my mouth. And yet
they were in my head, expressed, possibly,
as something less exact, thought perhaps,
though at the time they still seemed like sounds to me.

Something was there where there had been nothing.
Or should I say, nothing was there
but it had been defiled by questions—

Questions circled my head; they had a quality
of being organized in some way, like planets—

Outside, night was falling. Was this
that lost night, star-covered, moonlight-spattered,
like some chemical preserving
everything immersed in it?

My aunt had lit the candle.

Darkness overswept the land
and on the sea the night floated
strapped to a slab of wood—

If I could speak, what would I have said?
I think I would have said
goodbye, because in some sense
it was goodbye—

Well, what could I do? I wasn’t
a baby anymore.

I found the darkness comforting.
I could see, dimly, the blue and yellow
sailboats on the pillowcase.

I was alone with my brother;
we lay in the dark, breathing together,
the deepest intimacy.

It had occurred to me that all human beings are divided
into those who wish to move forward
and those who wish to go back.
Or you could say, those who wish to keep moving
and those who want to be stopped in their tracks
as by the blazing sword.

My brother took my hand.
Soon it too would be floating away
though perhaps, in my brother’s mind,
it would survive by becoming imaginary—

Having finally begun, how does one stop?
I suppose I can simply wait to be interrupted
as in my parents’ case by a large tree—
the barge, so to speak, will have passed
for the last time between the mountains.
Something, they say, like falling asleep,
which I proceeded to do.

The next day, I could speak again.
My aunt was overjoyed—
it seemed my happiness had been
passed on to her, but then
she needed it more, she had two children to raise.

I was content with my brooding.
I spent my days with the colored pencils
(I soon used up the darker colors)
though what I saw, as I told my aunt,
was less a factual account of the world
than a vision of its transformation
subsequent to passage through the void of myself.

Something, I said, like the world in spring.

When not preoccupied with the world
I drew pictures of my mother
for which my aunt posed,
holding, at my request,
a twig from a sycamore.

As to the mystery of my silence:
I remained puzzled
less by my soul’s retreat than
by its return, since it returned empty-handed—

How deep it goes, this soul,
like a child in a department store,
seeking its mother—

Perhaps it is like a diver
with only enough air in his tank
to explore the depths for a few minutes or so—
then the lungs send him back.

But something, I was sure, opposed the lungs,
possibly a death wish—
(I use the word soul as a compromise).

Of course, in a certain sense I was not empty-handed:
I had my colored pencils.
In another sense, that is my point:
I had accepted substitutes.

It was challenging to use the bright colors,
the ones left, though my aunt preferred them of course—
she thought all children should be lighthearted.

And so time passed: I became
a boy like my brother, later
a man.

I think here I will leave you. It has come to seem
there is no perfect ending.
Indeed, there are infinite endings.
Or perhaps, once one begins,
there are only endings.


Photo by Arno Senoner on Unsplash

what happens in a room


What Happens in a Room
Madeleine Wattenberg

into constricting the eye.
To accept into or to envelop.
To receive, as evening does morning,
without question.

Photo by luis castro on Unsplash

the sin of


The Sin of Wanting a New Refrigerator
Andrei Codrescu

Sin is impervious
to past transmutations
yet this is how it happened:
I desired
the bareness of my cell to open
in the vaster bareness of a new refrigerator,
the refrigerator,
having come all the way from the First Avenue of my
New York days,

from the fruit stand of the dark
fat merchant. He opened it up
in another Universe: the milk bottles inside
lit up like Angels. First Avenue
refrigerated. I was a penny short
and I still am.
They tell me here that new refrigerators
are forbidden, oh
that penny had in it a sin
as elemental as the copper
it was made of

Photo by nrd on Unsplash



Continental Drift Theory
Donika Kelly

For two nights we slept
as two people who were once
in love: our bodies

settled into one another,
our skin quiet. No quickening,
only habit, and sleep hard come.

Our first farewell, said
without knowing, drowned
by our delight, shared and singular,

in what surrounded us:
the otter smashing some meal
against the pilings;

the little red crabs
sweeping backward
under the boardwalk;

the line of pelicans
cutting low above the harbor.
That April afternoon,

the light bending long
across the water, did I not think,
my love, there at the moment

the ending began like a rock
slipped into the bay?
I’d wanted to fix in my mind

your face, wanted to fix,
at the coast, the slow drift
that separated us.

Difficult now to imagine–
the gesture weak,
the occasion quite late.

Photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash

against meaning


Against Meaning
Andrei Codrescu

Everything I do is against meaning.
This is partly deliberate, mostly spontaneous.
Wherever I am I think I’m somewhere else.
This is partly to confuse the police, mostly to
avoid myself es-
pecially when I have to confirm
the obvious which always
sits on a little table and draws a lot
of attention to itself.
So much so that no one sees the chairs
and the girl sitting on one of them.
With the obvious one is always at the movies.
The other obvious which the loud obvious
is not obvious enough to merit a
surrender of the will.
But through a little hole in the boring report
God watches us faking it.

Photo by Luke Marshall on Unsplash

Sufganiyot – Filled donuts for Hanukkah



  • 1 cup warm water, heated to about 110°F / 43°C
  • 1 tablespoon instant or active dry yeast
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (a bit extra for dusting)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, in addition to about 2 quarts (2 liters) for frying
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • About 1 cup filling (you can use jam, pudding or custard, Nutella, pudding, pumpkin butter, apple butter, dulce de leche, pie fillings, ), but this too is optional. I used lemon curd, Nutella, pumpkin mousse, and raspberry jam


  1. Mix the warm water and yeast in a glass bowl and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a separate, large bowl, mix the flour, powdered sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  3. Add the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of oil, and vanilla to the water/yeast mixture and whisk until combined.
  4. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and stir with rubber spatula until the dough comes together. It should be somewhat Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Line a baking sheet with a few layers of paper towels. Line another baking sheet with ­parchment paper and dust heavily with flour. Dust a clean countertop and your hands with flour. Put the dough on the counter and dust with flour. Pat the dough into 1/4-in-thick rectangle (it should be about 10 x 12-inches in size), making sure the bottom doesn’t stick (add more flour to the counter and hands as needed). Using a pizza wheel or very sharp knife, cut the dough into 24 two-inch squares (or use a round cookie cutter if you prefer rounds) and transfer to the floured baking sheet, leaving a little space between the squares. Sprinkle the squares lightly with flour.
  6. Add oil to a large Dutch oven or heavy pot to measure about 2 inches deep. Heat over medium to 350°F/176°C. Place 6 dough pieces in the oil and fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the donuts to the paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining donuts.
  7. When the donuts are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to puncture the side of each to form a pocket in the center. Place the tip of a squeeze bottle or piping bag into the pocket and squeeze 1 to 2 teaspoons of filling into the pocket. (You can also serve the filling on the side.)
  8. Using a fine sieve, dust the donuts with powdered Serve warm.