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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

A Shrinking World

Let’s put aside, for the moment, the thought of mass extinction. . . . Even if that is our eventual due, life will first look and feel different. Life as we know it won’t suddenly end, but it will be crimped; in many places, it already is.

The Button

The little button lying in my hand brought the violent history of the place to life. For a moment war wasn’t just pictures in textbooks. I could feel the residue of it, the half-life of violence.

Stolen Time

Blind luck put me on this yard where the men have decided to make good use of the empty time forced upon us by the state. Yard A is downright peaceful, nothing like the prison yards where racist convicts stab and assault people.

Cop Diary

Over the past year, more than a hundred people have worn my handcuffs. Not long ago, in a self-defense class, I wore them myself. . . . The catch of the steel teeth as the cuffs tighten is austere and final, and never so much so as when it emanates from the small of your back.

First Place

Three months before his third birthday, his Italian grandfather (on his mother’s side) set him on a proper bicycle, pushed him forward, and shouted, “Spingi, spingi, spingi!” Just like that, he rode down the driveway.

Geronimo’s Cadillac

I suggest that a powerful antidote to the manufactured past now being created for us is the secret history of Indians in the twentieth century. Geronimo really did have a Cadillac and used to drive it to church, where he’d sign autographs.

A Single Suitcase

We left before they told us to evacuate. I saw the smoke over the hills, knew the ferocity of the Santa Ana winds, and figured it wouldn’t be long before the fire would reach us. I packed a small suitcase.