Mercedes Lucero is the author of the chapbook In the Garden of Broken Things (Flutter Press 2016) and winner of the Langston Hughes Creative Writing Award for Poetry. Her writing has appeared in New Orleans Review, Curbside Splendor, Paper Darts, The Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal, The Pinch, Heavy Feather Review, and Whitefish Review among others. She is a recent Glimmer Train “Short Fiction Award” Finalist and has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is currently the Fiction Editor of Beecher’s and curates a collection of works dedicated to the experiences of autism and developmental disabilities through the online literary magazine, Spectrum Extract. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University and is currently pursuing her PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Kansas.
Root Expressions are from her manuscript, Stereometry. * see note
Below is 1 of 5 in a series of weekly installments for Visitant.
Solution: It is better to converse with your own fear. Sit alone in a dark room because opening the blinds to let in a November light feels like too much weight. By the time you shed a childhood, you have become an excellent swimmer, wading through heaviness. Your feet no longer touch the ground. You have learned every kind of gentle stroke, even the ones that do not get you anywhere. It is hard to tell what a day looks like when the entire world is filled with that kind of water. Place your fingertips over your mouth. Is your breath wet? Has the water filled your lungs? Aren’t you still thirsty, though?
* Author’s Note on Stereometry
It starts perhaps with thinking about space, about three-dimensional space and later, locating oneself within that space. Lately, I have been concerned with mathematics and arithmetic and seeking patterns within the arrangement of the universe. I gathered textbooks on geometry and cosmology, spent hours solving equations and memorizing theorems. I have made a list of questions related to my hypothesis for further inquiry:
- What are the geometrical properties of a body that turns into itself to feel its own curvatures?
- What is the area of the shape a body makes when it is filled with uncertainty?
- Is there an equation by which I might find the volume of resistance a body creates when it is told that it does not deserve to be erased?
I have surmised that if stereometry is the art and science of measuring solid bodies, then surely, there must also be a way to measure bodies that are not so solid. Surely, there must be a way to measure bodies that are made mostly of water. That cannot help but dissolve and evaporate. Mostly I have been thinking of what to say. Even I know sunlight can be too heavy on the skin.
►Next installment | May 24th: We had not yet learned √To dissolve