Selected Anthologies


the best american short stories
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019

"The first time I smoked crack cocaine was the spring I worked construction for my father on his new subdivision in Moonlight Heights…"



New American StorieS
Vintage, 2015

"When April arrived, it started to get warm and everyone said that the war was definitely going to happen soon and there was nothing anybody could do to stop it. The diplomats were flying home, the flags were coming out, and the call-ups were about to begin. Walking across the bridge, I would sometimes see freight trains lumbering by, loaded with tanks or jeeps, once even the wings of airplanes, heading out West or down South. Some line had been crossed, something said or done, something irrevocable on our side or on the enemy’s, from which there was no longer any possibility of turning back…"


A Brief Encounter with the Enemy

The Short Story and Its Writer: An Introduction To Short Fiction
Bedford/St. Martin's, 2015

"To get to the hill you have to first take the path. The path is narrow and steep and lined with trees that are so dark they could be purple, and so dense it feels as though you’re walking alongside a brick wall. You can’t see in and you hope that no one can see out…"


Notes from a Bystander

Best American Nonrequired REading 2012
Houghton Mifflin, 2012

"Zuccotti Park is located about a mile and a half from my house—three stops on the subway—but four weeks after Occupy Wall Street began, I had yet to even pass by. This was due in part to the fact that there was a very good chance I might run into my father there…"


My Mother and the Stranger

they're at it again: An open city reader
grove press, 2011

"My mother’s name is Martha Harris, while my name, on the other hand, as you already know from the byline, is Saïd Sayrafiezadeh. If we lived in a matriarchal society, my last name would also be Harris…"


Runaway Train

Love is a four-letter word: true stories of breakups, Bad relationships, and broken hearts
plume, 2009

"I met Amy at a moment of desperation in my life. I was twenty-four years old and fully convinced that I would one day be a famous actor if I could only make it out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania…"


Dark Man at the Airport

flight patterns: a century of stories about flying
open city books, 2009

"It was my great misfortune to be traveling from New York City to Paris just two months after 9/11. For while my passport is American and clearly states that I was born in New York, there is no getting around the fact that the name printed beside the photo of a dark- haired, dark-eyed, and slightly unshaven young man, is “Sayrafiezadeh, Saeed.” Saeed being the variant spelling that my Iranian father and American mother chose for my birth certificate…"


War and Duane Reade

lost and found: stories from new york
mister beller's neighborhood, 2009

"It was 9 PM and I was out of Breathe Right strips. If I don't have Breathe Right strips I can't sleep soundly because I have a deviated septum. So I put on my brown coat and my orange button that has a photograph of a very sweet little Iraqi girl and the words, "Stop the War on Iraq," and I rode my bicycle to Duane Reade…"


South Dakota

state by state: a panoramic portrait of america
ecco press, 2008

"The idea of traveling to South Dakota for vacation had been all mine. I hit upon it one night in my apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I was casually flipping through a glossy travel magazine with my wife, Karen, when I spotted a photograph of a bighorn sheep standing in the middle of the Badlands and gazing seductively at the camera…"


Long Dream in Summer

plays from actors theatre of louisville: humana festival 2005
broadway play publishing, 2007

On June 19, 1846 in Hoboken, New Jersey, a mother tries to prevent her only son from going off to fight in the Mexican-American War by having him tryout for the first baseball game ever played.



the thinking fan's guide to the world cup
harper perennial, 2006

"In the summer of 1998, as Iran and the U.S. were preparing to play each other in the first round of the World Cup, I decided to examine my own Iranian roots a little more closely. This was not a simple matter. For starters, my father was Iranian and my mother was Jewish American, leaving me somewhere in between, in a kind of ethnic no man’s land…"