Letter From United


Of course I heard voices in the night, saw visions, felt the presence of dying, that white, fringed place. Shallow breath, narrow entrance— the door to death opened. Then came steroids and their lack of inhibition. There was terror. I admit it.

Revolt at the Midway Discount Shopping Mall

By Richard Broderick ● 2010

The department’s floor personnel—Bobbi, Tess, Shaun, Alice, and the stock boy, Luis—received word in that week’s pay envelope, but rumors had been circulating for some time that the store was closing. It was, after all, impossible to ignore how the shelves were not being restocked. “No mas,” Luis would shrug, his palms turned upward, when one of the sales associates asked why a particular item—like those fleece-lined shoe inserts the old ladies liked so much—hadn’t been replenished. “A little shipping problem,” Mr. Beechner, the head buyer, had assured Alice, the oldest among them, when she’d worked up the nerve to ask. “Central’s working on it,” he said, then marched off in a rush. He was always in a rush.

Christmas is One of the Best Holidays


Christmas is one of my favorite holidays—there are a lot of differences between Christmas in America and in my country, Sierra Leone. In America, all they do is exchange gifts and go to work, but in Sierra Leone people will start celebrating a week before Christmas. On Christmas Eve, people will do lots of grocery shopping and buy lots of meats and chicken because they like to cook fresh food in the morning. On the day of Christmas, all you can smell is the good smell of different aromas—yum, yum.



The forty-fifth parallel runs through Saint Paul, Minnesota. This parallel is generally considered the halfway point between the equator and the North Pole. This is irrelevant to our everyday lives with the exception of one truth: it is the cause of our extremely unpredictable weather, a concept that consumes us. We talk about it with co-workers, we talk about it on dates, we analyze it on the TV, we use it as an excuse for being late, we complain about it, we use it to avoid awkward gaps in uncomfortable conversation, and most importantly, we live in it.

S.O.S. Saint Paul to Buenos Aires: Juan Pablo, are You Listening?


Funny how two people can get the feel of each other in two bars two bars of a tango a woman from the top of the world a man from the bottom of the world in the middle of a circus in the middle of an industrial zone en el Rio Plata in the middle of Buenos Aires.


By Diane Wilson ● 2010

I raise my baton, a rake, a half-chewed stick: dry leaves crackle, snap tympani for the horn toot of geese flying south.

Exploring the Fort Road Sewers


Back in my younger and more foolish days, I spent a lot of time exploring the sewers under the Fort Road neighborhood of Saint Paul. The tunnels run under every street at an average depth of about thirty feet. These tunnels, which carry raw sewage, were dug out of the St. Peter sandstone bedrock with handpicks more than 100 years ago. Their floors are paved with brickwork. I once painstakingly measured the aggregate length of this sewer labyrinth on sewer maps and found it was thirty miles long—the length of the famous Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. The funny thing is, it’s almost totally unknown to the public.

Big Hair

By Margaret Hasse ● 2010

This fall, our son’s chosen to grow his hair out long. He keeps his tresses clean, Otherwise lets the fields lie fallow, Doesn’t cultivate with comb and brush. One woman on Grand stares so long at his hair, she trips over the curb...

On the Mythical Sighting of Chow Yun Fat in St. Paul


She was working first shift at Taco Bell when out of Hong Kong and the two-fisted guns and that scene in the kitchen where he rolled through flour for dumplings and rose white faced as the angel of death...

I Am


I am a Hmong boy who lives to eat rice. I wonder how much rice can feed the world. I hear the sound of Mama packing the rice from the “vab” I see the steam from the freshly cooked rice that makes my mouth water...

Poem: Fall Linens


You resist when I take you down, refusing to end your dance with the October breeze. Flapping, twirling in your many threaded cotton gowns, which contain the smells of maple, grass and the geese sound, which blew in and won’t release.

My Unforgettable Lesson of the RNC


It was Tuesday in Mears Park, the second day of the Republican National Convention (RNC). We had already marched on Monday as part of the crowd of 10,000 protesting everything from the war in Iraq to the presence of Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu. Being part of a large group like that, you tend to only see and hear those things in your immediate area. But someone mentioned that they heard a cop say there had already been tear gas used farther downtown.