That spring, I was ready to drop piano lessons. I wanted free school day afternoons. I wanted to be driven far out of town in beat-up jalopies at high speeds. Put on greasy lipstick dark as bitter chocolate so that some boy would think I was at least fifteen. I wanted to dangle a lit cigarette and drink gin and gingers in roadside dives, like in the movies. I wanted the boy behind the wheel to say, “Hey, you’re cool and sassy for a girl.”
My mother didn’t fancy my growing up so fast. She said, “Give it one more summer, honey.” Meaning the piano.
I crumbled. “Okay, but that’s it.”
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I live in the lavender gut of a horse, a beating heart just beyond the wall. And beyond that two old ladies sip tea on a white porch in the crabapple South, hoping for something that might squirrel up out of the ground, the age-old ground, the Southern ground, the ground at the top of a hill: a thin line of angels listening all boneless and hospitable from above, managing nothing with their tiny, modest, angel hands, hands that might just as well be days of the week. The long-gone Civil War is wearing a small red-and-gold cap once worn by an organ grinder’s monkey.
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Even the universe was young once
but though it was small
its events were immense
and shaped the course of all that followed
the matter inside us
the starlight around us
No memories remain of that formative time
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but its afterglow is everywhere
faint but unmistakable —
three degrees in the background
pervading our world
whether we see it or not
Grasping at Straws “The thing is, unless you change, nothing changes.”— Jose Mujica Cordano “It’s easy,” you tell your niece, showing her how to managethe simplest task, baby steps and all that, perhaps how to formher first question, her first double-u, perhaps how to maintainthe fire in the grate, perhaps later to count out her […]
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“You have a mother’s hands,” My husband said to me when our son was a few weeks old. I was holding a whimpering newborn, cooing and shushing in his ear, while gently stroking his back in a clockwise motion. “Do I?” I smiled, amused that I was now a mother. With mom hands. When do […]
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Cassia collages scenes from motherhood in which how one frames and is framed by others is a crucial and defining element.
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This is an essay in response to an essay in response to an essay. Mallory Ortberg of the Toast thoroughly picked apart and criticized Elizabeth Ellen’s “Open Letter to the Internet,” in which Ellen defends a few high profile alt literary men facing rape accusations because she thinks the accusers’ ways of saying “no” were […]
Read more "Responding to Ortberg Responding to Ellen: On Child Perpetrators of Sexual Harm"
My mother is deep in her bed with her socks on, sticking out. She never wore socks, so I remember it surprised me. Her heels were always cracked, like mine are now, and though she perpetually tried to soften them, with creams and socks and special razors, in the summer they immediately toughened up, calloused […]
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Both my father, Dave, and his younger brother, Keith, are storytellers. They live across the country from each other, Keith in Oregon and my dad, Dave, in Illinois. If I could have, I would have gotten them in a room together, given them a beer, and pushed, “Record.” As it is, I asked them to […]
Read more "Snapshot: Franklin Park, 1950s, Part II"
Both my father, Dave, and his younger brother, Keith, are storytellers. They live across the country from each other, Keith in Oregon and Dave in Illinois. If I could have, I would have gotten them in a room together, given them a beer, and pushed, “Record.” As it is, I asked them to write to […]
Read more "Snapshot: Franklin Park, 1950s"