Finishing the Hat

by Jessie Lynn McMains Since Stephen Sondheim died, I’ve had “Finishing the Hat” stuck in my head. “Finishing the Hat” is a song from Sondheim’s 1984 musical Sunday in the Park with George, and in some ways it is the consummate Sondheim song; one of the finest examples of the way he blended music and…

Haunting, Haunted, Haunts

by Jessie Lynn McMains All houses wherein men have lived and diedAre haunted houses.—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, from “Haunted Houses” Every house is a haunted house. The things which haunt them might truly be ghosts, or they may just be the ghosts of memory. They may exist independently of us, may reside in the pipes and…

August

by Jessie Lynn McMains The long summer yawns into August. It’s still summer—the hottest part. The dog days. Sultry, slow, the air so wet you can see it even at night, when the neighbors’ porch lights make it glow orange. There are bees in the lavender, cup-plants and pink lilies and goldenrod growing riotous in…