At the Shiva
Gulf Coast, 2019

“If you kiss him, the Messiah can’t come.”

To the Man in My Grandfather's Shirt
Off Assignment, 2017

I was there to see absence, and you sold me blueberries.

Recurring Dog & Rare Thing
(9 Years, 13 Dreams)
The Collagist, 2017

A dog so ugly it looked like a glass bottle; so stray that when my sister was walking it and it got lost and we found it—looking just like a medical waste container—we couldn't be sure it was it.

Trump Dads: A Confession
The Rumpus, 2016

And our Clinton moms go to sleep beside them, as they have for so, so many years.

On Not Eating the Marshmallow
The Kenyon Review, 2016

See, maybe hope is always fear-fueled. A kind of violent running from the present. Refusing to sober up or come down, you stay high on potential, on the future, on “will.”

In Kishinev
Story Magazine, 2016

Every stupid Soviet town has an ulitsa Pushkin.

Home of the Harlequin Ladybird
Tin House, 2016

Now I greet them when I come home—“Hey, guys!”—in the same voice I use to greet chin hairs before I pluck them, each wiry time they arise.

Survivor Affairs
Parcel Magazine, 2016

No, 115 thousand hours of video testimony will not be enough: what they want is to get connected to a surviving survivor, and the archivist will transfer their call to Survivor Affairs.

The New Oxford American Tells a Story
Okey-Panky, 2016

Not another word passed between them. See BATON. See BUCK. See HAT. See LIP. See MUSTER. See PARCEL. See TIME.

Crossing Brooklyn Bridge
The Nashville Review, 2015

She wheels the bike uphill to look for the rest of her groceries, but all she finds is a cucumber roughly halved at its waist, and she pretends it isn't hers.

Are You My Mother?: An Unfaithful Imitation
The Seneca Review, 2014

You could say the pull toward narrative is so strong, it destroys truth.

Not Weird About Brooklyn
The Paris Review Daily, 2013

It seemed typical of New York that the person to answer the ad at last would be someone of my precise demographic, as if the posting's imagery and syntax could communicate only with people exactly like me.

Drawing God
SLICE, 2013

It begins when Mom explains why all those bumper stickers say VOTE FOR THE CROOK, IT'S IMPORTANT.

Leaving Kishinev
Witness, 2012
Reprinted in The Best Women's Travel Writing Vol. 9

When Dad and I left Kishinev, Vladek was crying.

The Creepy Taxi Cab Ride I'll Never Forget
Salon, 2011

"Take a break with me."

The Good Fortune of Hurricane Katrina
Bygone Bureau, 2011

It’s a form of denial, yes — denial of danger, of gravity, of grief — but it’s a denial as natural as the refusal to believe that a chance meeting can be only chance. It’s called hope.

Fallacy in Puffy Paint, c. 1992
Electric Literature, 2010

There was a time when I wandered the earth with a puffy-paint penis on my shoulder.


Practice Imagining Change
A Workshop Manifesto
Poets & Writers, 2018 / Literary Hub, 2019

We can teach writing without the language of failure or success, criticism or praise, and doing so will help us avoid reproducing systemic oppressions, damaging students psychologically, and stunting creative work.

Not Another Holocaust Book
Jewish Currents, 2018

Could it be that the only way to write about the Shoah today is by hardly writing about it at all?

A Non-Mother's Hunger for the Writing of Motherhood
Los Angeles Review of Books, 2018

How do these mother-writers mother my writerhood?

Is There Something Queer About Being Single?
The New York Times, 2017

Loneliness dissipates when you find comfort and pleasure in your own company.

La soledad se disipa cuando encuentras comodidad y placer en tu propia compañía.

The Red & the Green
(print title)
The Forward, 2016

The season was the reason for a whole year of vigilance.

A Response to Jamie Zvirzdin's
"Observations of a Science Editor"
The Kenyon Review blog, 2016

We believe the poker face is the mask of objectivity. But science is also a story.

Against Clichés Against Clichés: A Manifesto
The Millions, 2016

WHEREAS: it is a cliché of the creative writing workshop to discourage a writer's use of cliché...

When Plagiarism Is a Plea for Help
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2016

Next time a student hides her thinking behind someone else's, what I'd like to do is not fail her, but try to help her not fail.

In Search of Authenticity
Auschwitz Jewish Center Fellows Journal, 2015

Time makes it impossible to be faithful to any moment in the past.

Don't Eat This Marshmallow:
Cooling the Fever for Self-Control
Los Angeles Review of Books, 2014

It's hard not to love a book with "marshmallow" in its title, the same way it's hard not to love an experiment with a marshmallow as its mascot.

On the Pleasurable Pain of "The Pain Scale"
& "1001 Contemporary Ballets": an Audience Performance
We Might As Well Call It the Lyric Essay, 2014

For the writer, an essay begins with an itch...

Instability & the Essay
Essay Daily, 2013

The essay is an action, as unstable and open to interpretation as any struggle between selves.

Won't You Be My Wireless Neighbor?
The New York Times, 2011

To belkin54g, Cooley and, above all, to the blessed Belkin_G-Plus_MIMO of Ditmas Park, for the ability to speedily reply to student e-mails, video-chat with my sister, keep abreast of the latest literary hoo-ha, “like” as many of my friends’ Facebook posts as I liked and learn all about lentil-sprouting or Prometheus whenever the mood struck: Thank you.

Writing Offline
Electric Literature, 2010

Painters, actors, musicians, you have it so easy! You veritable farmers! Alone and unbothered out there with your seedlings: watering, harvesting, bearing fruit.