Issue 151 | The Sun Magazine

June 1988

Readers Write

A Letter Never Written

Adopting, reconnecting with an old friend, being AWOL in peacetime

By Our Readers


“Why,” a seventy-six-year-old woman was asked, “are you seeking therapy at your age?” Reflecting both her losses and her hopes, she answered, “Doctor, all I’ve got left is my future.”

Judith Viorst
Necessary Losses

The Sun Interview

From Conflict To Intimacy

An Interview With Danaan Parry

You and I and every human being I have met in any culture — we have all been conditioned to put a barrier between ourselves and other people, to stay safe. And it is that safety that creates most of the conflicts in the world. It’s that crazy paradoxical situation whereby if I stay safe from you in that way, I can make you the enemy, and we can go to war and kill one another. That kind of safety has to end — especially in this nuclear age. We have to make ourselves unsafe to one another personally and psychologically so that our planet can be safe.

By Dana Branscum
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

What’s Eating Me

A Memoir

My mother never held a baby that way. Even when she was feeding my brother, he always somehow rested on her arm, never melted into her body. In New Hampshire, I finally said something to my brother about never having been treated that way when I was a baby. “No,” my brother said. “Our mother would have held us out there with a pair of tongs if she could have.”

By David Guy
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Depression As A Loss Of Heart

Our materialistic culture breeds depression by promoting distorted and unattainable goals for human life. And our commonly held psychological theories make it hard for people to make direct contact with depression as a living experience, by framing it as an objective “mental disorder” to be quickly eliminated.

By John Welwood
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


I didn’t understand what he meant when I first heard John Lennon sing, “No one can harm you. Feel your own pain.” But I knew his words were true, just as a sudden change in the weather is true, just as the alarm clock with its shrill ring is true.

By Sy Safransky

The Pilgrim

Jenny sat inside the roar of the plane, concentrating on distracting herself. She was flying to Seattle in response to one of those phone calls during which the world momentarily freezes in its orbit. “I’m a friend of your father’s,” the woman had said.

By Kay Levine Spencer


Our favorite game was called “Spy on Stella.” We loved to watch her when she thought she was alone and unobserved. It was our way of having power over her, for the few moments she dozed in the green chair in the living room or stood in the kitchen cooking, singing along with Jack Jones on the stereo.

By Kim Addonizio

Snow White

She has always fought it down, / that subterranean dwarf / that rises up. / She has tried to be / the keeper of perfect cottages, / perfectly embellished.

By Linda Lancione Moyer

I Have No Brother

The only furniture / in that tiny room / where my brother lives / is a mirror / on a plain white / wall. When I enter / that room / there is only myself. // I am searching for / my brother. I have no brother.

By Jack Evans

Selected Poems

All month I thought of your body, / soft with its delicious baby flesh / and fragile with its hidden bulbs and bones, // and knew you would be torn. / I pulled your small shoulders / closer as the days passed, / and some nights felt the tumor / rise beneath my palm like a burl / in a redwood forest, / worrywart, skullcap / under the duff of your skin.

from “The Operation”

By John Addiego

On The Edge Of Shambhala

Leaving the chiropractor’s office / driving through the woods along the Cold River / I wanted to write a poem

By Stephen T. Butterfield

Leaving Home

Opening my legs for her wasn’t easy. / She was hunched and burnt-looking. / Her whole face puckered toward her mouth. / She spoke with words like “dirty shame” / while she gave her absolution — / a small, white cloth inserted / into my womb.

By Cedar Koons