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 saw the Petrified Forest National Park wasn’t far away, so we took a day trip out that way. And that’s where I stumbled onto a display of these letters, written by people who’d taken petrified rocks from the park but then wanted to send them back.

I was blown away by the letters. They were at turns heartbreaking and hilarious. …

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 …

Black Base

I.

Put your foot in that
large pothole there

“RUSH HOUR GOT OFF TO A SNARLED START DOWN
-TOWN TODAY WHEN A STREETCAR ON A TEST
RUN …