“I owe you a confession.”

The woman’s eyes lit up, perhaps expecting a new turn in the banter, then met his, revisited the gravity in his voice, and settled to the coffee cups on the table between them.

She nodded — I’m ready.

“Last summer, at Pole. I wasn’t completely…

“Hey — can I ask you for some advice?” The girl stepped out into the streetlight toward me and took a made-for-TV drag off her cigarette.

She’d been nearly camouflaged against the Mermaid’s worn brick, but you learn to make a habit of noticing people if you come down to…


He flinched.

“Brian MacDermott?”

He was older, much older than his photo, of course. But those eyes were unmistakable, those brows still furrowed with the piercing gaze that took you by surprise when you first flipped to the inside dust jacket.

One of the infamous brows rose haltingly, questioning…

[image courtesy Breese Greg, USFWS]

Richard Cater was seven years old when he ran as fast as he could down the parched grassy hill on his uncle’s farm, trying to set the record for human flight. The decorated cardboard wings he’d cut from a discarded Frigidaire box in the barn proved insufficient, and when the…

I always try to tell Anna that it’s not the cold that gets you — it’s the wind. “But forty-six below?” she says, “You’re insane!” Of course, she laughs when she says it, and even over the static of the hallway phone, over the unimaginable miles, I could see her…

To: Samantha Faye <xxx-xxx-xxxx>
From: Your PolyTech Home Smart Lock
Date: June 3

Hello Samantha — the batteries in your PolyTech Home Smart Lock have about one week of life left in them. Please change them soon to avoid an interruption in service. You can visit PolyTechHome.com …

“I had half a mind to make up some story. Wondered if it might make this easier. For you, for me. But it seems wrong to lie about things like this.”

The clatter of cicadas fell like a soft rain. Past the slouched shoulders of the man perched on the…

And how you’ve come to stand on this brink,
Dreams of another life stuffed into that pillowcase
as best you could gather them

Resolved to shake them free into the ever-rising wind,
And watch them fall, and be carried away by the sea below,
Yet uncertain whether you would follow

[Inspired by some amazing poetry at the Copper Canyon Press open house last night. Yeah, I used to write poetry. And no, don’t worry: it’s metaphor — I’m in no danger of ill-advised plummets or other rash decisions. Most directly, I suppose, just reflecting on my ambivalence about having left the Antarctic Program…]

[image courtesy Rick Otten]

We were waiting for our Saturday afternoon carpool at the end of Hebrew school and my mother was late to pick us up. Yours? Never was. But sometimes, my mother would say, the car wouldn’t start. Or she’d tried to fit in a run to the store for groceries, and…

photo courtesy Jessica Jozwiak, Detroit Zoological Society

The third-generation CODAR weather stations were designed to come apart easily. Only when you wanted them to, of course. This far down the peninsula didn’t get the sort of rock-scouring, equipment-destroying Southern Ocean storms you got out on Cape Shirreff. …

David Pablo Cohn

I write stories that explore how our lives intersect with those of others and with the world around us. For more, follow me at http://davidpablocohn.com

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