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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Sentient Garden

The more I learn about my garden, the less objective I feel about it. Now that I can rattle off the Latin names and vital statistics of so many of my landscape plants, you might think I would regard them as botanical specimens, each possessed of a unique genetic recipe and species-specific traits. Call me sentimental: I think of them as friends.

When I Was Immortal

My mother wound a dish towel around her left wrist, pulled it tight, then unwound it. My father sat waiting for something, smiling slightly, looking across the kitchen table at me and my sister, Kim. Then he took a breath, lowered his eyes, and told us that he had a tumor "in a gland called the prostate." The cancer had spread to his bones where it couldn’t be removed or treated. The doctors weren’t sure how long he would live — maybe a year, maybe five.

Talking To My Mother, 1986–88

You call me at my new apartment. I wait for you to mention Grandma’s table one more time — it’s been in storage for a year since she died, waiting for a grandchild to claim it. You’ve said you’d measure it and, if it will fit in my apartment, ship it to me. You say, “When you’re all settled and put away —” and I think, now comes the table, but you surprise me, “you can go and pick out some nice china you like. It’s time you got something nice. We’ll pay for at least one place setting.”

Six Days

The investigator from the department of mental health, Mr. D., called yesterday to tell me that the woman who seduced me after my stay on the K-4 unit a dozen years ago has been suspended from work for six days. This is the maximum punishment possible for someone found guilty of “ethical” — not “sexual” — misconduct.

A Primer On Forgiveness

When I was a fledgling investigative reporter in my early twenties, I wanted to save the world, to uncover wrongdoing and make room for rightness. It didn’t take me long to realize that I could spend my whole life trying to expose the evil deeds of “bad guys” and never answer the fundamental question: what makes people bad?


The Other Side Of St. Francis

Silas’s father shuffled out of the bathroom and down the long hall into the living room, white specks of medicine clinging to his lips. Silas chewed on his own lower lip and shifted in his chair. His father was rotting from the inside out, and much of their visits consisted of Silas sitting and waiting in the living room, trying not to listen to the sounds coming from the bathroom.

Raised By Cats

I told the little wrestler to watch out when I saw the three men pull up to the pumps. They’d ripped me off the week before, played me for a sucker on a frantic snow blowing night, when I was all alone at the station, cars backed up honking at every pump. “Those guys,” I said to the wrestler, “bought two dollars’ worth of gas and then kept asking for change.” The tall, thin driver got change for a twenty, I told him, then asked to change the ten I gave him into fives, then to change the fives for ones.

Because Of Jacob

Jacob’s work unit was assigned latrine duty today. Each man carried two pails full and sloshing with the wastes of people barely alive on bitter brown bread and pale green soup. The ground is frozen too hard to dig a new pit, so the one that now overflows must be emptied, pail by pail, into a deep gulch on the far edge of Auschwitz.

Readers Write

The Prom

It’s a warm June night. Cathy and Patty are beautiful and sexy in their prom dresses, while…

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸


“Whatever you say about God you should be able to say standing over a pit full of burning babies.”

Elie Wiesel

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