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  • Writer's pictureLenore Weiss

On the Border

How many borders exist within a single universe…what is the one true, crucial border?

—Jenny Erpenbeck

Close to my house, a five-story apartment is being built on a former Halloween pumpkin patch, one side faces a homeless encampment. Across the street, there’s an entrance to the freeway where the oldest trailer park in Oakland is on the same side of an outdoor beer garden. I am told to be on the lookout for early signs of dementia, for confusion and depression, for time and places escaping into a spotlight where I play the leading role in a surrealistic rendering of my life, for signs of road rage where an abandoned car is pocked with bullet holes and a cat catches an eyeball in the gutter. Gunshots heard around the lake. A body dumped a half mile away. Babies killed in car seats as the air vibrates with helicopters. Elsewhere, men wake up to gunfire and bombs, crowd into boats, their arms capsized with memories. No work permits. Housed inside tents and church basements. Families stitched to the border.


Lenore serves as the Associate Creative Nonfiction (CNF) Editor for the Mud Season Review and lives in Oakland, California with Zebra the Brave and Granola the Shy. Her environmental novel Pulp into Paper is forthcoming from Atmosphere Press. Her blog resides at


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