The summer issue of the Oregon Quarterly magazine features my essay, “A Demolition,” in which I reflect on my first job in America. The essay won first prize in the magazine’s annual Northwest Perspectives Essay Contest.

7:41 a.m.

I park Sam’s old Ford pickup on the near side of the driveway leading to a 1970s single-wide mobile home with smashed windows, and put on my work gloves. On the breeze that’s scattering the remnants of dawn into a cloudless October Tuesday, I catch a whiff of wood dust from the Weyerhaeuser plywood mill off Highway 126.

Sam clambers down from the green cab of his International dump truck, marked with years of heavy duty and “Sam Wood Construction, Inc.,” in white Gothic script. “Let’s go take a gander at her. I sure hope Mike wasn’t blowing smoke up my ass and we can pack ‘er up by sundown.”

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