from Love Me, And The World Is Mine
The population dropped from thousands to hundreds. Businesses closed. Boundaries, lost. Everything grew wide from lack of use: roads, fields, women. Birds sat and sat at the tops of bluffs and watched the river roll by. Chicago grew large, or so they heard. The post office was stacked with letters for people who took off for big places. One day, the postmaster lit an incredible fire in his yard and got rid of it. He told no one, but for months after the land was scattered with pieces of family photos and Say, brother, I bought that plot… and Mother’s asking… and The flowers came up early this year… and Can’t wait…Wouldn’t believe…Won’t you come home yet? Mary bought a new dotted dress and is waiting for you.
from Prelude To An Autobiography
May 18, 1942: Pope John Paul II, born Karol Wojtyla became eighteen, a man, and I was born. Not of him, but from a courtship that began as small and as elegant as a papal wave, in Iowa. Born of God, from Lace Irish and a blue-eyed plumber. It was a cold May. They burned cherry wood in fireplaces and outside the chimneys bellowed. I was baptized in the sink because there was something wrong with the way I breathed. But from then it was Constance, Constance, Constance. This is what they named me.
Mount Saint Helens exploded on this same day, my birthday, in 1980, and I was then baptized in fire and ash and dust.
But this is just a beginning, a summary.
I am easily distracted these days.
from Hunting The Rut
He takes his knife back out and cuts the heart from the fat. That’s his daughter, his, Jack. The heart’s six pounds, maybe seven. It’s still thrumming—has he ever felt this before?—so he holds it, waiting it out, until he lets it plop into the bucket. The bucket’s inside is dusty with farm and bits of straw are already stuck to the heart. He takes the bucket from Hazel and stands away from the bull. He puts in fistfuls of clean snow, packing the heart like a present wrapped in tissue, and gives it back to her. “Thanks,” she says. She walks back to the cab, the bucket held in front of her with two hands as if it’s already dinner on a platter—like she is four again and they are playing dinner in the living room with plastic forks and fish that break in two at Velcro seams. Her longjohns are wet through.
They chain the bull up to the truck by its hocks and drag it home, slow, on its back, staining the snow all the way.