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From Fat Girl, Terrestrial

I DIDN’T KNOW I’d killed him until the next day, when the paper reported the death of this man, Hazard Planet, that was his name. He was found at 34th and Strong, right where we’d parted. The paper said the police were investigating “the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death.” As an architect of crime scene miniatures, I couldn’t imagine what would be so befuddling.


Okay, confession: I’m no petticoat, no girly-betty, no hothouse orchid. I’m 8’ 11½”, still a cubit or so shy of Goliath (depending on who you ask), 490 pounds, a few tubs of butter in excess of the dainty dish my mother, herself a windblown buttercup, assures me is trapped inside, beneath the impudent ballast of flesh.

Prologue to Skin

Spiritus Monday                       

The air in What Cheer, Kansas, is gardenia scented year-round, even in the chill, white anonymity of winter, a perfume so heady and redolent it sets noses to twitching and muddles the thinking, throws the clock of expectations plum off its tock, prompts folks to marry in December, die in June, fills them to their gasping gills with a barren hunger no fecundity can ever answer. Just beyond the city limits, the nostrils broaden to the sulphurous reek of industry, the reassuring odor of people engaged in the production of objects, and tensed muscles relax beneath skin that recalls once again how to act, as bodies drive large, soft-seated cars toward reachable goals.                                                            >






Excerpt from "Secession, XX"

originally published in The Kenyon Review
On the thirteenth day following fertilization, "we" found "ourselves" with three X�s and a Y to work with, so it didn�t take brain surgeons, or even budding geneticists, for the excessive zygote we were to figure out how best to assemble ourselves. We were the thwarted hermaphrodite splitting defiantly down the middle, reconciled to sharing intestines, a bit of pelvis, perhaps a spleen, but not everything. We knew enough each to claim an X, and then I said Girl and yanked the other X out of the communal stewpot.



The biological impossibility of our zygosity proved no deterrent to my sister.

XXOO, she signed our postcards from summer camp (where we were the envy of all three-legged racers). This valediction was not meant to signify affectionate gestures, vouchers for kisses and hugs that could be cashed in upon our return (she occasionally drew half arrows shooting northeast out of the O's to make this unmistakably clear). It was she on the left and I on the right. To her, I was absence from the start. The space harnessed, circumscribed by Her.




Read "Digesting the Father" at                    

The Kenyon Review