The Little

  • add insight
    to injury once
    in a blue noon
    a picture’s worth
    a thousand
    birds kill two birds
    in one zone
    devil’s adjective chirp
    on his shoulder straight
    from hose’s mouth variety
    is the spouse
    of life

  • Eyes on the page. Pencil mark prowess: curls and strikes. Wild leaps and slashes of grey ripping blue lines. Scribble that reared into snake and hissed out lightningbolt phlegm. Stick figure with a raised arm morphing into a blooming flower of pendulums.

    “—and a massive earthquake—”

    Line sizzled out flat and Evan dropped his pencil. He looked up. Bush of hair barred the board. The teacher turned to face them, sterneyed.

    “One of the top twenty strongest earthquakes ever recorded on a seismograph,” the teacher was saying, eyes flickering around the room. “Eighty-eight deaths in Sumatra alone. And the amazing and terrifying thing about earthquakes is that they are basically impossible for scientists to predict.” He nodded to a girl in the front row. “Well, we’re out of time, but thank you for an excellent presentation, Riley.

  • I have never felt so stupid as when I am attempting to speak, read, or write Russian. I’ve only been studying it for one year and I already feel the pain. Did you know that there are four different words in the Russian language that all mean “to go”? Each one specifies if you are walking or driving and going in a unidirectional or multidirectional motion. And then you can add a prefix to these same words and get “arriving” or “returning,” “going in” or “going out.” It’s all just madness. And even after almost a year of Russian instruction, I still mess up some of the letters. In the Cyrillic alphabet, the n’s look like h’s and the cursive t’s look like m’s. Class is an utterly humbling (read: humiliating) experience. It doesn’t seem to matter how much I study; I just cannot get above a B on any test.