The creative community in Columbus, Ohio has already given us poet-essayists like Hanif Abdurraqib and Scott Woods. But this unblinking essay about our country’s ugliest cycle was my introduction to Starr Davis, and I’m thankful for it. The wizardry of the Midwest’s secret oasis continues.

I know someone who makes fake pay stubs. They can take the numbers on my time sheet and turn them upside down, flip around my hours so the welfare office believes I’m barely working. I was tempted to walk out and call them but something had my sandals stuck to the floor. We pull rabbits from hats is what my mom always said. Having learned other ways to get money—the swift flip of an open leg or telling a sweet lie to a thirsting man—we never stayed down long. But now I had a newborn baby. So new she still smelled like hospital linen.