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Essays

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Photographed by Angie Cruz

The Other Chile (Cecilia & Patricia)

1. I misplace an earring in my hotel room in Santiago, Chile. So I ask the head housekeeper, Patricia, if anyone has found it: a silver lotus leaf, not valuable, but special to me because it’s a good luck charm.  “Nothing can get lost he [...]

Photo by Cédric Von Niederhäusern

Dreams of My Mother

  1. My grandmother Mary died last November at ninety-three, after six months of at-home hospice. It was on a Tuesday. By Thursday, my mother and I were in Philadelphia getting out the vote for Hillary Clinton. Mom was exhausted after a ye [...]

Life Is Why

The average adult has eight pounds—twenty-two square feet—of skin. Healthy adults can lose a liter of blood before going into shock, and vital signs help monitor the onset and stages. Unlike adults, children can lose nearly half their blood volume and still have a blood pressure holding steady. With shock, “adult vital signs go up the mountain and then drop off,” our EMT instructor Nancy says. “Children’s are like, ‘I’m okay, I’m okay—DEAD.’”

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Photo by Gary Honis

Night Moves

July 5, 2016

In "Night Moves," Amanda Petrusich visits Cherry Springs State Park, a Pennsylvania swath of night sky, where light pollution and fracking threaten the existence of one of the darkest places in America.

If Everything Is So Amazing, Why’s Nobody Happy?

October 5, 2015

When I talk to my students about living for compassion, they tend to be quite interested. But few of them have ever contemplated this sort of life before. Like the life of courage and the life of thought, the life of compassion seems to be receding in our culture. People don’t talk much about ideals any more. We don’t usually offer them as viable options to the young.

The Southwesternization of the American Palate

June 17, 2015

Barrow, Alaska, is about as far from anywhere in North America as it’s possible to get: hard by the Beaufort Sea, 720 miles from Anchorage, 3,500 miles from Washington, DC, 1,100 miles from the North Pole. Yet, until very recently, it was possible to stumble across taiga and tundra and find, there in the heart of the town, a Mexican restaurant.