In blank sex everything tangible about your partner is transformed into something that excites and weakens you, seems irreplaceable, his breath, even physical defects, and all these things are somehow necessary for your physical survival or salvation, and yet you know you can never possess them even as you caress them and try to convince yourself that contact with them in the heat of sex is the same as claiming them, having them forever, which in your heart you know is untrue, and thus the tonus of despair.
—Norman Rush, from Mating


Poets think in lines, prose writers in sentences; the best of both work from sound to sense, with an ear for the music in their compositions. S for Sentence celebrates lyricism in prose, the play and craft at work in the artful sentence. We post a sentence a month along with comments by a guest writer on the craft that shapes it, on what makes it great. In one or two sentences.
—Pearl Abraham, Editor
The clauses, like the narrator's desires, are perpetual and physically exhausting; to read the sentence aloud is to run out of breath. The archaic "thus" heralds a surprisingly textured diction that ends the sentence ("tonus" means not "tone," but more apropos, "a slight bodily tension"), giving a formality, and infallibility, to the quality of such despair. —Hanna Pylväinen, author of We Sinners