February 1992

Readers Write

Prisons

Listening to the scamper of steps, the same question every fifteen seconds, the laughter of the guards

By Our Readers
Quotations

Sunbeams

When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Prison Experience

The statements accompanying the photographs arose in response to a single question Camhi put to prisoners: “What do you want people to know about the prison experience?”

By Morrie Camhi
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Inside

The men here carry their personal space like body armor. They have been taught the gospel of toughness since they were young. They think it is necessary for survival to wear your strength on the outside.

By Jonathan Huntress
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Witness Tree: Memoir Of A Ritual

It is a terrible thing when a brave person becomes afraid of you. It wakes you up. You see that, in Hemingway’s great phrase, you have “gone beyond where you can go.” It is unlikely you can save yourself, and unlikely that any one person — lover, therapist, friend — can save you.

By Michael Ventura
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Home Alone

If we were in bed, I’d want to make love. If we were talking, I’d want her undivided attention. Am I ever satisfied? What if she were ill? I’d be thankful she was breathing. I’d be thankful for her life.

By Sy Safransky
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Small Victory

I crashed my bike once. I bought an R75/5 — my first BMW. I was told I had to earn it. I didn’t quite understand at the time.

By Kate Groff
Fiction

Italian Supper

A woman prays her husband will never stop looking when she undresses. We’ve come so much further than that. Chuck doesn’t notice me at all.

By Daniela Kuper
Fiction

What Marvin Knows

Marvin had been watching the car, a red Ford Escort, drive by his house for perhaps twenty minutes. It was driven by a young fellow, probably one of the local college students.

By Lisa Horton Zimmerman