A Letter From South Phoenix, Where Two Pandemics ‘Have Turned American Life Feral’

Raising a Black and Brown Family Here Was Complicated, Even Before COVID Struck

Thank God for the sun. Its excessive heat has forced the ants, flies, and cockroaches to retreat under the electric boxes planted around the neighborhood jungle gym I call “Dope Bag Park.” (It gets its name because frequently I’ll see cellphones glow and lighters flicker under the slide as dope dealers and smokers lounge, disguised by the night; come dawn, little plastic bags holding on to the faint smell of weed will remain, blowing onto my front doorstep.) Although insects are no longer a nuisance in the Arizona heat, the …

Are You Cursed If You Steal Rocks From the Petrified Forest?

A Photographer Ponders Beauty, Truth, and the Guilt of Visitors Who Pilfer Souvenirs From the Arizona National Park

In 2011, I was traveling in Arizona photographing meteorites and the misidentified meteorites known as “meteor-wrongs.” My work with the meteor-wrongs went quicker than expected and my wife and I …

What Kind of an American Am I?

From Witches to Baptist Ministers to Native Americans, My Family Heritage Holds Many Stories. But I'm Not Sure Which Ones Are Mine.

I am American. That much I know—but my life’s experience has never taken me beyond that in any way, up until this point. While many Americans embrace their ancestry …

Pop Goes the World

We drove to Tucson in the cuspy light
of a morning moon—
caraway seed, eyelash,
lemon zest over mountains we knew
were there but couldn’t see.

My daughter sang
all through …