AB Intra

The same fish in different bodies. They’re born knowing everything they’ll ever need to know. It’s burned into their brains, their flesh and bones, this fire, this water, this staggering man. — JAHN

If she were to look up at the sign, its illustration of a coyote in silhouette would make no impression. Two-dimensional things mean nothing to her. The sign, posted by the local police department, advises residents to “Be Coyote Smart” and explains how to frighten them off, warning that humans should not risk a physical confrontation. — MCEVOY


f he reflects on this chore at all, one he performs every day, it is with a sense of his accountability in the matter, which he cannot think how to resolve. “Keep the butchery out of sight,” his mother has warned, “or Smokey is off to the county rescue.” MATTES

My dad had brought along a pencil and a small square of paper with a hole in the center. It was a good idea, he said, to write a message on the paper and send it up into the sky when the kite was flying, just in case there was someone up there who wanted to read it. — BLAYLOCK


found it impossible to resist chiming in and wasting hours (and hours!) when the residents blamed the homeless sleeping outside for “infecting us all with the virus,” or preached that parents (such as myself) who took children to the local (small and docile) Black Lives Matter protests should have their “parenting credentials stripped.” MOULDING


is plan was to take an audio recorder around and record conversations with strangers, which he wanted to underlay with found sounds or incidental music and pair with video footage that he had been shooting. He thought there were more interesting people in the world than we might give credit for. PRICE


ou’ve probably seen those facial recognition tests online. If you score in the top one percent like me, then do the follow-up certification, you’re classified as a super-recognizer, and they put you on a contact list for law enforcement. — WYSS


e speak in the present tense when we gossip, the yelling man, the louder-yelling woman, all happening in a make-believe now, a biblical tense that includes my hope we will someday meet. — CADNUM


bell rings, telling me a customer has come into the store. I ask her what she wants. She is a woman looking for a book, something easy to read on the bus, short, light, happy, “easy to read for someone who never reads, something very popular, a love story.” WARNER


was raised in an orphanage. My mother, father, and sister, Esther, were killed in a pogrom in Poland. Esther was nine, I was five, when it happened. People from our village hid me and later got me on a boat to America.” “What’s a pogrom?” asked Roy.  GIFFORD


e did not live in a better place. Innocent families were senselessly murdered in our country. And if it could happen to the Clutters, who weren’t even Jewish, I saw no reason why it could not possibly someday happen to us. SHAPIRO


was adopted at birth. I promise it is relevant here. Only people who are not adopted can say it doesn’t matter. It always matters, in the deepest, most material sense of the word. Not that I thought about it then. CASTLE


nd there was, perhaps even less interestingly, Masoud’s death some years later, in the third-floor den of his house in the Marina District in San Francisco, upon seeing old footage of President Carter toasting Mohammad Reza Shah at the Niavaran Palace on New Year’s Eve in 1977. TAYYAR


he sun was rising in a shell pink rash behind patches of soft white clouds. She’d seen pictures of the San Fernando Valley when it was nothing but flat land. Van Nuys had held on to some essential feeling of desolation. — FLORES


hough our paths first crossed when she was twelve and I twenty, we wouldn’t actually meet until she was twenty-six and I thirty-four, and then only by purest chance (if truth is the bastard offspring of reality, can fate be the dunce cousin of chance?). — MOSKOWITZ


espite the heckler’s objection to influenza, and despite the history of the disease, he liked the word. It was pretty on the tongue. Not the diminutive, flu. But influenza held something of the mystery and suggestion certain words could contain. — GARCIA


return to it as a primary text for understanding the family that formed me as well as — and I realize this sounds overblown — as well as understanding my country, the great, rough, seductive, and perilous America that gave us Uncle Jake. — YATES


ue up the sad music, since we have the biological death of Ms. Coleman (who once wrote a poem in the form of her own death certificate), but her potential cultural death as well. Please tell me that this will not be a sad story. (Spoiler alert: it sort of is but mostly isn’t.) — HOOD