As the operation continued, my milk supply decreased. I wasn’t aware of it at first. I thought Adam was just behaving like an infant, crying for attention. Colicky, they call it. He tried to extract whatever drop of nurturing liquid he could, but I struggled to provide.
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Saturday mornings were for Marshalls. For holding tightly to Dad’s hand, and watching the Black women drag children who looked like me – all fuzzy edges and plastic barrettes and knotted curls.
K & I ball surrounded by trees / & the faint huff of lightning bolts.
On the day of her only birthday, she dips / a finger in the cake before she slips / it into my mouth.
Guilty literary pleasure: Ghostwritten celebrity memoirs. And pop-up books.
Three daughters under one caved-in roof meant hair conditioner usage was monitored like underground earthquakes near a volcano, where one big jolt of conditioner used in a single shower would make the entire household melt down into a pool of lava.
Faucet spewing fear that runs constantly in the Back of your mind in Adulthood. You aren’t blind With rage at first. First you are blind with fear.
Fear that I will muddle my manners. Fear that I will matter little. Fear that I will dither like a biddie, bobble like a budgie.
Lost Tooth / dear Cut Hair / dear Wonder / dear Rain / dear Still Puddle / dear Mirror / dear Empty Hands / dear Body—
they get / shipped / somewhere / they can’t / upset the / elderly
WHEN I SAY I WANT TO LEARN YOUR MOTHER’S RECIPE, I MEAN
he doesn’t eat fish anyway, so it’s okay but i still have to stare at the eyeballs
something that took so long to put to bed / & now a quieting / like the invention of streetlights
When she was a child she called it the hix. She doesn’t need to say it for me to know she’s seen it too. The word is hot on her breath, foul like fish gone to rot, like the air outside the dome.
So personal, the way he doesn’t stroke her hair as the ambulance wails. Instead, he tells someone not to pack up the food. They don’t all need to follow in their own cars to the hospital. They should enjoy the day and the lake and the peach pie that Maura baked for the occasion, and maybe he’ll meet them later.
The final touch would be pineapple wedges, apparently, and from where I was on my knees next to Ilsa I could see him assaulting a whole pineapple with a rusty butcher knife. He obviously had no idea what he was doing, but Ilsa and I seemed to be in silent agreement that we were going to allow him to be the man of the house when it came to the pineapple.
I tore up the paper. Coughed to cover the sound. Opened up my phone and played a video on YouTube of two service dogs chasing each other. The ad that played after was for cough drops.
We were told to hit those in the passive role. Every time we swung our hockey sticks at their necks, their visors would flash with EXP points. For anyone passive the object of the exercise was to get enough EXPs to level up to Emotional Stability.
close the door that lets infection in to heal on its own / time immune system rehearsing its answer to / affliction
because I’ve always been better at taking weight / than giving my own
spilling their brown limbs all over / as if to say thank you as if / to say thank you white man / you are justice you are godly
The little dog clusters the sheep tightly around her master. Her eyes are perfect circles. She knows she’s done a good job.
These questions do not make me laugh like they would on a night when I was not starting avalanches. These are people who do not recognize their limits.
I wanted to date a nice man to prove to myself that all the therapy had worked. I’ll admit, I got into it.
Once, when my father was out of the country my mother asked me to cycle to the university library (my mother didn’t drive) to pick up some books. I was understandably wary. I was eleven and thought that being alone and in the library would be weird, but I also knew that my mother didn’t consider protest, at least not mine.
I’m the assistant to the head of a small AI company. I don’t know anything about tech or consciousness. I have a BFA in studio art. I figured there’s no point in studying economics if the world’s ending.
What the fuck is going to happen when he gets to the gay bleacher section?! And then suddenly, Psychic Mark hits a snag. A stony woman wrapped in a draping black duster is scowling in Mark’s direction as he pulls out a series of random images: A fish tank, A blue orb, The letters B, C and A.
Our own kind of hot-as-hell, beautiful, brown home.
You remember the kiss hip moan you got but did not get, the wet strands between your tips your thrusting fingers their tender lips
There is the most powerful species named johnnycashi, and his hooks there to restrain our fangs during sex.
before the nightclub, you stand staring at yourself in the mirror drenched in dream-smoke, a fishbowl of lavender. you trace the length of your collarbone.
I’ve always been magic – sprinkling fairy dust and bewitching rings of Saturn to orbit my equator with the switch of my hips.
if you are hurting / if you are uncertain / know that this body can hold itself to itself and undo at the same time / it is your nohkom saying kisâkihitin with her hands / stitching beads to a leather purse you will one day hold /
new york is the fifth city i miss you in your baby toenail fell off this year as it does
Sometimes we have to save people from themselves. It happens. She lies back down. I drive for a while. It’s all going pretty smoothly, until we get into her subdivision. And shit, there it fucking is. A train. The arms of the crossing signal lower, and the bell screams. Fuck.
One Saturday afternoon, the unimaginable happened. In a break between rotations, I was sitting on top of the vault—my chosen lookout spot. All of a sudden, I sensed the air change around me. It was Larisa, pouncing up like a Lycra-clad cat to crouch at my side. Panic bubbled in my gut. Why had she come to sit with me? Did she even know who I was? We had never been so close to each other before.
I hate to love this city. Where the stop sign on Berry has “6” painted under “Stop” so you know what hood it is.
I did not learn how to dread my parents’ death until college because I was too busy anticipating my own. My fear surpassed any charming precociousness altogether and sat itself squarely down on the couch at my first therapist’s office, peering out past its sad hermit shell onto the children’s books and tissue box on her table. There it was sailing with me at the top of the swing’s arc. And again, leering from the bottom of the aquatic center pool like the fabled turd that would shut down the place for hours at a time, except that the poop was real, and I was so, so full of it.
A sharp, split-second pause. My Grandmother describes this moment inconsistently. With each telling, there’s a new detail: a fisherman to watch, a beggar to pity. The fisherman, waving a switch in front of his bucket, crouches beside a farmer heating bricks in a kiln. Both stare open-mouthed at the smashed egg; their reaction (Grandmother claims) is shared by a passing cadre, who shouts, a giddy falsetto creeping into his baritone, “What a shame!”
We had storage units, ex-wives, and unpaid parking tickets down in the city, but we had since quit our jobs that tethered us to those lives. We knew how to tear things down and build them back up. We were in the business of predicting what people wanted, how, and when. We were doers and makers, bored to death by the pedigree we had earned in the trenches below.
She had opted out of the diversity section on the application, but had assumed that per the powers of the United States government, they would know the basics. She wasn’t hard to find. There were things on the internet, pictures, and regrettably, poems.
At the time, I had loose curly hair and was envious of your bald sides with the small bit of hair that resided on the top of your head. Each night, I would walk into the bathroom and place my palms on my forehead. Slowly, I brushed back all my hair with my hands and watched my curly afro disappear. Sometimes I even cracked a small smirk while placing my hand on the side of my belly, releasing a small laugh, just like yours.
Update: I have checked again, and the dog is not a whippet or a greyhound. The dog is a sausage dog, which is something I would have known if I’d thought about it. Visual memory is particularly tricky. I wanted it to be a nice light dog, of a breed I admire, because that would go well, in black and white, with the seagrass and my grandmother’s light-grey hair.
*Source text for this erasure: Jose, Randall T., Ed. Understanding Low Vision. American Foundation for the Blind, 1983, p. 52-3.
If God came to me, my face would / burn, if God touched me, he would / crucify holes out of handshakes.
Come lie down beside me and touch my warm belly my little darlin’ / Scratch me like you mean it you cowardly dog / Just kidding I am the dog in this scenario
I will flip a pillow, say TODAY IS GOOD then roll / over in my bed like an overcooked beet.
When this Pokémon sings, it never pauses to breathe. If it is in a battle against an opponent that does not easily fall asleep, Jigglypuff cannot breathe, endangering its life.
No one notices when I'm late to work. / I just forgot to eat.
Here I am in loss, as losing; active loss. It’s a singing bird, small yellow-green, who thru special powers of love breathes without taking breath.
I’m starting a new religion. We only worship things that are green.
from the she’s all that moment we didn’t have bc we were too busy jacking off to jake gyllenhaal getting bashed
As I scrolled through my mentions, I wondered if Robbie was right. Why would anyone want to SWAT me though? I don’t talk smack, and I don’t harass anyone. There are gamer dudes who are famous because that’s all they do—yell at the camera and call gamers racial slurs. They make fun of people they don’t even know in real life. Like, what’s the point of that?
She looks exactly the same in every way but I know it isn’t her. The woman who is not my mother dips her knife into the neon yellow plastic bucket inside which the cantaloupe sits. Standing in the middle of the upstairs hall bathroom (the one where I always forget to turn the lights off), she looks up at me and speaks as I enter, the tip of her knife poised on top of the melon, ready for incision.
At least Benny and I had our routine: We went to Sasha’s in the morning where I read about the Battle of Saratoga and cried all day. I felt like I would never meet another man as smart as Davis. I imagined him kneeling over the edge of the bed screaming at me in grammatically complex profanity. I didn’t want to become one of those people who fantasized about the past.
The Lord of the Flies was a different person from Stanley. He wasn’t interested in repeating arguments with Angela. He wanted to prove the scope of his genius; transforming himself into a monster made him feel decades younger and he wasn’t going to stop there.
Men loved The Sex Castle because they could be king. It was still the 1970s once you walked under that lightbulb bordered door. Their sexist and racist jokes got laughs, their boring work stories were listened to, everyone felt attractive, with girls vying for their attention. No one reminded them who they really were.
To broaden the scope of my own private dictionary and pinpoint an entry where I could fit, I found myself scouring the three books the public library had tagged with round rainbow stickers, pulling out the terms that fascinated me – dyke, butch, boi – and collaging them secretly in the nest of my being like some kind of sexually confused magpie. I didn’t want to be a “lesbian,” as that word sounded like a disease and not a person, but I wasn’t allowed to be a “boy” if I wasn’t “trans,” and I wasn’t “trans,” not completely.
Today, the ropes swing violently. Strung from the roof, they hang down the side of my building. They beat against my bedroom windows. I can see seven from my living room. The ropes seem to be suspended in the air, independent from the building.
The summer before I turn 17, I go to a six-week academic camp where I focus on writing and dance. We talk in one of my classes about psychosomatic medicine, the notion that touch can cure certain ailments and has a distinct psychological effect on us. Whether used for harm or for healing, physical contact is a critical element of human interaction.
We discussed the kind of crime he might commit. Most business owners would no longer prosecute for theft, the requisite time and energy not worth the potential recovery of property. Anything under a felony would net a slap on the wrist and a fine; there was no need for minor league convictions. Charlie had no desire to harm anyone.
"There’s something extraordinary about a woman being so blond. I guess men always look for something extraordinary in a woman. I mean, maybe, maybe not, but for me, if a woman is extraordinary, I’ve got to have her. I’m not saying you aren’t extraordinary—this is going to be cruel!—but what I am saying is that you’re cute, you’re cute like Drew Barrymore-cute, but Stella is beautiful like she-just-stepped-off-a-private-jet-and-she-wears-expensive-underwear-beautiful. That kind of beautiful. I like your hair fine. But I like hers better. Stop looking at me like that. You wanted to know the reasons. I’m giving you the reasons."
As a child, I often felt as if my body was sinking. I don’t get this so much anymore, but then, it was real bad. I’d sit on the couch, and my heart would drop, my stomach would drop, and my feet would grow cold. My parents thought that American sensibilities made me an anxious child; perhaps the luxuries of sugary cereal and school clubs were detrimental.
In the photo, I’m in profile on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty on a cold morning. I have on a toboggan and a black and white scarf with a pattern to clash with my red and tan plaid hunter’s jacket. I wear mirrored aviators. I have a full beard. The sun off my glasses or the skyscrapers resolute in the background or my being there, in that harbor, where crowds dared to dream, must be doing it for Mom because I’m heartbroken in the picture.
“Fuck,” Gina almost said aloud. She felt a sharp pain in her abdomen. A cramp. Oh my god, I can’t believe I’m getting my period looking at the fucking Star-Spangled Banner, she thought. Oh well! White for purity and red for the blood that was shed.
i am so sad i bought glitter eye shadow
Our mother insists Jesus’ mother spanked him / when he misbehaved, and sinless he sobbed
in this poem Jesus laughs because he is very ticklish / in this poem he tells Gabriel / Quit it
God, so we will have to do / with what we get. Behind us
Why are there no stories? / Because there were none.
I want to be the one who gets daughters / into colleges with full rides, / brings the Go-Fund-Me page to completion
Perhaps when I drive off I will see a sky / with fullmoon-eyes, & I’ll know there is a God / & he been looking me up & down from all angles
I have always wanted to be a sculptor, holding possibility
sometimes I’m a disaster without knowing sometimes I’m looking at you my happiness completely in your hands love is pressure but it is also a few good consecutive calm moments
"Two years after I unfriended John on Facebook, Tempest and I were lying in her bed watching and re-watching the scene in Pride and Prejudice where Mr. Darcy is so overwhelmed by the touch of Lizzie’s hand that he splays his fingers, as if to reach back through time for memory of her skin on his."
Dad looked over his shoulder to check his blind spot. He answered me, keeping his eyes on the road, “I used to think about that kind of stuff when I was your age,” he told me, “but after a while, it doesn’t bother you anymore.”
She’d been falling asleep often, nodding off while you were talking to her, mid-sentence. It was a new symptom of her disease. She wasn’t forgetting faces yet, but names, places and dates were a jumbled mess.
The other dyke was talking to the father of the bride. I put myself at his elbow, turning my face towards him and my body towards her. He paused their conversation to introduce us. “Annabel, have you met my niece Other Dyke?”
The dream of the body is that it could be more than it is. When I see my body – the parts that are physically present for the light to bounce off of – I am often disoriented because there are so many other manifestations of myself that feel equally real.
I thought she was the prettiest girl in our entire school, and I wanted to be her almost as much as I wanted to be near her. Every time she asked me to sleep over, I felt a certain surprise, a “who, me?” feeling, even though we were best friends; every time I woke up next to her in her turquoise canopy bed, her long, blonde hair in my mouth and her limbs splayed out so they poked into mine, I couldn’t believe my luck.
We could hear the girl that lived above Paul’s room having sex with her boyfriend because we could hear him. In the summer, I thought maybe it was just because the windows were open. But in winter we plastic-wrapped them shut, and I still heard his little yelps twice a week.
And yet the sex did not get better. He was a determined giver, but missed the mark so predictably that I began to find his efforts in bed comical. He wouldn’t correct course even when I nudged him quite forcefully, a failure that I ascribed to a stubborn overconfidence on his part.
“They stayed upstairs that night,” said Clara’s father. “The next morning, he and the defense secretary came down, and we made them a nice breakfast, and while they sipped Fresca, the president sat back and crossed his legs, and we saw him smile for the first time.”
Doc the Ativan just give me the fucking Ativan or don’t
It’s the way you sit across from me / at the kitchen table / your hands enclosing a teacup
The call keeps dropping for the Arctic photographer on NPR, his voice fine and crisp and then suddenly drowned in a closet, choked by the devil
if the ape x stone cap is missing from the pyramid base it was strapped to a ship and shipped to the new world
The relationship was a sign that read Accident Free for __ days, that reset every morning to zero.
You pig-heart and I skin tapering off a drum face. You conjugate, animal-throated magician’s girl
And your greatest failure? / That they haven’t built a language from my name yet.
and I just scatter to his center like a little hair patch on his chest
but, when i was 19 i became more of a spill sometimes, i miss a mouth entirely.
His back in its sweater beads into sweat / but he likes the sweater — it reminds him / of his grandmother
I pick a blister off the bottom of my foot and he doesn’t even blink. Maybe I want to be owned. Or maybe that’s the only way I’ve been conditioned to understand desire.
I bought a goldfish in a dream once. She was modestly shiny, with scales like mirrors on a disco ball. My left eye reflected itself on her body if I turned the right way. I knew she was a she because she told me, right before I placed her into her bowl. “Okay,” I said, “good girl.” She smiled at me, a specious sort of smile that I was wary of but loved all the same.
They spend the first drink verifying that they speak a common language: where do you think LeBron’s going to play next year? What did you think of the new Drake album? Have you heard about Jay’s new girl?
I had a shoplifting habit at this time but I didn’t steal anything from Jessica Ruben because I took my job as a Boutique Retail Assistant very seriously.
I should turn the podcast off. It was the same when I read that book about Henrietta Lacks and got all worked up about cervical cancer: I, too, felt a knot in my abdomen. I, too, sensed that something was wrong.I, too, had pain during intercourse, at least some of the time, if Shmulik went too deep.
My favorite mall fact was its origin story. The American mall was invented in the ‘50s by an Austrian architect and immigrant named Victor Gruen. Looking to his native Vienna as a source of inspiration, Gruen sought to design a civic square for shoppers in the sprawl.
Gerard sniffed the air, his eyes traveling the room. “I leave you alone for a few minutes and this is what happens? I am gonna flip. I am gonna bust a gasket.”