Objects of Affection

From steamy Atlanta, Cristen Conger unfurls the chambers of her heart.

Atlanta Elegy

“Behind us lay Atlanta, smoldering and in ruins, the black smoke rising high in air, and hanging like a pall over the ruined city.” — William T. Sherman, Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman I knew I…

The Belated Obituary

When I think about my Grandmother, my dad’s mother and the only grandmother I knew since my mom’s mom died long before I came around, two memories shine most vividly. The first is of the food…

Smoke Signals

Once, while attending a best friend’s birthday dinner party at her parents’ house on a Saturday night in the early fall of my junior year of college, the top quarter of my left lung collapsed. There…

Testimony

I can’t tell you much about what happened that day, but I can tell you what I was wearing. The dress was a slate gray American Apparel shift, cinched at the waist with a vintage brown…

Death Knell

When I walked into my neighborhood coffee shop on a late August morning, there wasn’t a flicker of romance on my mind. I had woken up early to camp out at the cafe and catch up…

A Staph-Infected Love Story

At first we thought it was only a spider bite, and a vicious one at that. “Let me take a look at it,” my boyfriend Chris had said after we arrived back at his place from…

All I Leave Behind Are Bobby Pins

Sitting across from me at the Thai restaurant we frequented nearly every Sunday as a couple was the first man I fell in love with, and devastatingly the first man I fell out of love with.…

The Book of Us

The unofficial Poet Laureate of Athens, GA asked for my phone number after a swimming pool party secretly thrown to set us up. I was damp-haired, tequila-flushed, and giddy. In the moments leading up to his…