Now You Don't

A few summers ago, I went looking for Spirit Creek. I had consulted a map and knew exactly where to find it: inside a large culvert on the north end of Spirit Lake. But when I crouched inside the empty culvert, I found nothing but a dry footprint of water flowing over sand. I followed the footprint through the underbrush for a few hundred yards, until, to my astonished delight, all traces of the creek vanished entirely...

Allegheny - The Allegory Ridge Nonfiction Anthology, November 2023 (print only)



On the first day of swim lessons, four-year-old Robert sat on the top step with his hands folded in prayer against his dry chest. His eyes followed the braver children who slipped indifferently underwater, splashing, jumping up and down, and inching their way into deeper waters along the pool edge. Day after day, Robert refused my entreaties to go under...

Cream City Review, Issue 47.1 (print only), Spring/Summer 2023

Small Matters

Some days ago, our young dog, an energetic hunting breed who likes to dig up ground squirrels and field mice, brought home a baby bird. The bird was curled up in his mouth, and when I pried the dog’s jaws open, it cheeped. Startled, I fished out the small wet critter and held it in my hand. It looked just born. Its pink skin and sparse feathers were wet with dog saliva, revealing a tiny head and beak hunched over a small round belly that beat like a drum. I inspected it for damage, but it seemed fully intact. I didn't know what to do with it, where its nest was hidden, or whether it would survive human contact. I doubted it would. But then it stood in my palm and made a run for it. I covered it with one hand and brought it inside to show my 12-year-old son and his two friends...

Cagibi, January 2021 The Print Issue (print only)

A Turn at the Oars

Pee trickled down my leg as I stood on tiptoe, gripping my shaking palms to the oars of our 14-foot inflatable raft, and tried to get a glimpse of Snowhole, a rapid named for an enormous boulder on the right side of the river that lifts the water up and then drops it into a billowing white cloud of chaos called a hole. If you can line up your boat in the correct spot it’s an easy run. But if you get caught too far right, if you drop into the hole, you are in serious danger. Although Snowhole is only a class IV rapid (class V is the most dangerous rating for rapids that are considered “runnable”), it still packs a punch. This particular hole, in the right conditions, could flip a fully-loaded boat and guzzle its passengers. People die in lesser whitewater.

Hyperaware of everything that could go wrong, I took a quick, conscious breath, wondering if I was up to the task...

Griffel Literary Magazine #7, Spring 2021 (online, FREE)

Seeing Ghosts

The Spokane River slinks away from the northern tip of Coeur d’Alene lake like an introverted guest at a party. Until I looked for it on a map, I hadn’t known exactly where it began. From shore, standing at the northwest corner of Coeur d’Alene Lake in Idaho, there is no perceptible difference in how the water moves on the lake versus the river: it’s all flat and still. The only indication of change is a subtle narrowing of the shore on both sides, squeezing the lake into a lane the size of a suburban street. In this way, the river travels west for thirteen miles, reaching a cul de sac at Post Falls Dam. Only once it is past the dam does the Spokane assume the likeness of a river...

Litro Magazine USA, Editor's Pick, Nature Issue 2021 (online, FREE)