Issue 544 | The Sun Magazine

April 2021

Readers Write

Fighting Back

With fists, with words, with kindness

By Our Readers
The Dog-Eared Page

The School

We weren’t even supposed to have a puppy.

By Donald Barthelme
Quotations

Sunbeams

I dreamed a few years back that I was in a supermarket checking out when I had the stark and luminous and devastating realization — in that clear way, not that oh yeah way — that my life would end. I wept in line watching people go by with their carts, watching the cashier move items over the scanner, feeling such an absolute love for this life. And the mundane fact of buying groceries with other people whom I do not know, like all the banalities, would be no more so soon.

Ross Gay

The Sun Interview

This Mortal Coil

Sheldon Solomon On How Fear Of Death Affects Our Lives

I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that almost everybody on earth is currently more aware than usual that they’re going to die. . . . People are becoming more racist, xenophobic, and willing to engage in hate crimes than they were in the recent past, for example. But being reminded that we’re going to die can also bring out the best in us, making us more altruistic — at least, toward people we consider to be part of our group.

By Deborah Golden Alecson
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

To Make It Through

Some of us have faced devastating losses of jobs or homes or family members, and some of us have more time to take up hobbies and house projects. Some of us pop our trunks open, and some of us fill them.

By Vivé Griffith
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Mild Case

When did the distance from the bed to here become twenty-six miles? That pair of pants I stepped over, you see that? Goddamn Everest that was.

By Josh Swiller
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Funeral For A Hamster

I was unable to protect my children from heartache. I couldn’t keep them from the pain of it. But I could ease their journey by helping them light their dead hamster’s funeral pyre.

By Andrew Johnson
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Beat The Old Lady Out

I couldn’t see the loaves in her oven, but I could smell them. They smelled like the perfect weight of blankets on a winter night; like the loving and attentive parents I thought I deserved; like the solution to every natty problem that might crop up in life.

By Debra Gwartney
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

After The Flood

When we went back outside, Tom had stopped sawing and was repotting the bare vine. “You never know,” he said. He’s right, of course. We don’t know what the world will bring, what power lies in a salvaged tomato plant, what we all do to build back, survive, thrive.

By Heather E. Goodman
Fiction

The Children Are Fragile

It was after this, in the three or four weeks before she stopped coming to class entirely, that Sheila started bringing in the Murder Plays.

By Jen Silverman