Fiction & Poetry


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…"



The New yorker
September 10, 2018

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


Metaphor of the Falling Cat

The Paris Review
Winter, 2014

"It was about a year after the car accident when the thoughts came back to me. They'd been gone so long that I'd forgotten all about them, but when they came back, they came back fast. They came back all at once…"



Last Meal at Whole Foods

The New Yorker
July 28, 2014

"I’m having dinner at the Whole Foods on Center Boulevard with my mother, who is dying. My poor mother, whom I’m trying not to sob over, is sitting across from me in the booth, transfixed by her cardboard plate, eating, with a strange and elegant enthusiasm, broccoli cake and something or other, as if any of this mattered…"


A Brief Encounter with the Enemy

January 16, 2012

"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…"



The New Yorker
February 28, 2011

"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…"



The New Yorker
March 1, 2010

"Things were not going as I had hoped. My sole purpose for interrupting my manager at this late hour on this Monday night was to inquire, respectfully, about an increase in my wage. But the conversation had somehow reversed itself, and now here I was standing awkwardly in the doorway of the restaurant office having to defend my very competency at my job…"



Most Livable City

THe Paris Review
Spring 2006

"The year the bus drivers went on strike in Pittsburgh I was twenty-three and living on the edge of the city in a neighborhood that was on the verge of becoming a ghetto. I had just been fired from a good job as a cartographer in a design studio where I had worked for about four months. The owner of the firm was a tubby, bearded man named Ted, who wore tweed jackets, had offensive breath, and fancied himself a poet. He had somehow come to the conclusion that I was deeply closeted and that if I could only admit this then the two of us would be together…"