Benjamin Kunkel

All articles by this author

Argentinidad

Argentinidad

Argentina is hardly the saddest country in the world, but it has often been felt to be the most tragic. The sentiment derives in part from an envious glance at other large settler colonialist countries — the US, Canada, Australia — that secured measures of peace and prosperity unknown here for generations. A vast country, eighth largest in the world, endowed with a long Atlantic coastline, the endless fertile plains of the pampas, a deep trove of mineral wealth, and torrents of fresh if muddy water, its bounty prompted the rather blasphemous fin-de-siècle boast Dios es argentino — God is Argentine — and for much of its earlier history the republic struck natives and new arrivals alike as teeming with potential wealth.

Or Things I Did Not Do or Say

Or Things I Did Not Do or Say

Small talk has an aspect of bravery when things are winding down. We came out of the mountains, down through the foothills, with Denver spreading at their base, and talked about little and then about nothing. And then the peaks or teepees, or perhaps they are notionally sails, of the new international airport rose up from the plains, we’d reached the place where the airport road bifurcates, and I bore right, toward terminal A, and Viv, as I said, was wiping her eyes.

Horse Mountain

Horse Mountain

The old man went down on one knee like a clumsy courtier and after steadying himself and making sure he wouldn’t topple over, he brushed away loose, loamy soil with the hand the stroke had spared—he’d had a second apoplectic stroke two months before—and located the beginnings of a pale root. He yanked up the hound’s tongue, as the weed was called, and sighed. He stood and righted himself, less of a labor than a few weeks ago, and stuffed the weed into the left hip pocket of his overalls, fingering its velveteen leaves.