Page 1

a co ll ect"



spring 2010

table of


fwo rd, a hi sto ry ....................... ..................... ............................................ 06 editor's note .............................................................. ............................... 07

acknov.dedgements ......................... ................ ...... .................................... 83 how to submit ........................................ ...................... ............................. 82 editorial boa rd ...... , .......................................... ... ..................................... 83


gym nastics ............. .......... .......... ..................... . katie kara s 09 the reasons why i'm easy .............. .................. tranae hard y 2 1 selective senses .................... shana ru son is 22 beneath her skin ............... agatha taveras 28

a good man an d a man of integ rit y ....... sa nae lemo ine 72 letter to a mother .................... kiri white 40 to xic ................................ an ne hu ang 18 little man ...................... sa nae lemoinc 10 co ncepts of fat ...................... john bang 56 autorretmto con monos ........... an ne huang 30


high ......................... ays ha el shamayleh 36

monsters ....................... rachel fi eldi ng 45 the circle game ................. erica kimmel 53 i am a man ................. russell trimmer 54 quixotic ......................... julia nelson 58 (when the puppets turn their faces to the wal l and say no) .. . florcntin3 dragulescu 35 stuck ................................................................ ... ........... lani feingold路 link 60 i like my men lik e my croissa nts .......................................... ariella chi vi l 16 towel s on th e Ooor ................................................... ... ...... rachel fieldin g 62 college ..... ... ............................... ........ ............................ ..... ... arie lla chi vil 68 balloon ................................................................. ..... ..... .. .... (a nony mous) 70

an odd smell of coffee .................................................... wiktoria parysek 27 gi rl on bus .................................................... ............................ katie kClras 81

academic back to her roots ................................. lauren reifsnyder 64 Cln Clnalysis of boys don 't cry through the theories of sedgw ick and warner .............. daniella ma leka r24 swa tted away: the harmfu l situation offema le ed ucati on in pakistan ........... emma buckhoul 46

23 street vendor selling balloons at gran poder festiva l .......... jake ratner 08 musica para pla ncha r ................................................. rebeca mart inez 63 two girls struggle to get their pig home ..................... jake ratncr 29 untitled series ...... ..................................................... katch si Iva 33 work on one terrace ... .. ............................. co ll in schenk 34 couch series ............................................... katch sil va 39 (untitled) ................................................. alex goree

59 aajaan ............................................................. melissa hershman 43 mary housekeeper in woodland cemetery ................. collin schenk 80 a mother watches her chi ldren pass in a parade ........... jake ratner 52 dapper flappers arc not sa ps ............ alexande r jacobson 55 body art in china town ........................... co ll in sc henk 71 play and pose .................................... ayasha guerin 61 silk making .................................. michel le moyes 44 from the seri es faith ............ oliv ii:l coffey 17 cocked hips and a smile ..................... colli n schenk 67 before her woodstack .............................. colli n sc henk


editor's note When I look at feminism, I see a comfortable, wclcom ing wo rd. The stretc h of mmm in the middle of it. I he rou ndedness of th e In, the n, th e m. How ism disso lves back into my lhroa l an d is reabsOIued. II lacks the hars h, propel le,d, co nclu s ive so und of luck. I cou ld never say, Feminism You. with the sa me punch.

Penn ha s an active feminist community., r", vibr.mtly illustrated by campus orga ni7dtions, from the Alice Paul Center to the Women's Center and the Pcnn Consortium of Undergrad uate Women. In Fall 2006, we Cilme together to join th is communi ty. We foun d inspiration in the out of print magazi ne POlldora:~ Box, iI publica tion of works by Penn women for a female audience; founded a decade earli er, Pafldor.J路. . Box hdU creilted an imagina ti ve and gracefu l channel for femini st thought. We began to discuss how to shape and reyive the magazine. Hoping to welcome a larger. morc d iverse group of both contributors and readers. we set out to creale a space where all students cou ld give liter-dry and arti5tic voke to their ideas on feminis m (broadly defined as respect for all indi viduals, regardless of gender or sexua l affi liation). The magazine was to be not on ly a forum for femi nist d isc u s~ jon , but also it catal yst for awareness of femini st issues in the cam pus community. We titled it: "The Fword: A Collection of Fem in ist Voices."

Th is is the seventh iss ue of F word. Alw,y, fai thful to our ''Collection of Feminist Voices" mantra, wc continue to highl ight works expressi ng myriad opinions and experiences. We ha ve biannua ll y published our magazi ne si nce 2006, thanks to the support of our ~ponso r organizations, and we Ilave increased our distribution network by jo ining the Penn Publications Cooperative. As of this yea r, we have begun to organize campus-w ide events. hoping to encourage the evolution of femini sm amongst our peers dnd ourselves. The following wrillen " nd artistic pieces provide just a gli mpse of the feminist thought on Penn's campus. We arc thankful for the tremendous progress femi nism hdS mdde; yel we know that there is even more to be thought and said, wriUen and photographed, ca ptured and articu lated. 6

It makes me sad th at it has become just anoth er dirty wo rd', it's as mi sread as its move ment. Feminis m isn't an o ppress ive si ght, sound, or sy mbol. It's organic, flexible. It is an opening. It rejects ri g idity and yie lds poss ib ility. Please take thi s word a nd make it yo ur ow n: we offer it wit h o pen hearts. Fword love, Anusha



gymnastics i~l

katie karas

musica para planchar

"Content," he says, as we lay in Olll' separate bags ga7ing ~t Ihc ~ky. I feel his .... ~ rml h beside me but my mind i~ in the dou ds pl ay ing nop-scotch from sial' to sial', turning cartwheels allove r scient ific fllet. l ie tel ls me I C~Jl' t 00 cartwheels when we're running through the nwadow. Bul what does he know? He ye ll s al me when I make hi m irrationa l, li ke thai ' s a ood th ing to De. '-Ie talks ~boul an),iety and I can hardly listen for Ihe chirping birds te lling me thatlhis is all that has c\'cr Dccn righ t and good in Ihe world. I forgot the poles for the ten t but who needs silly slicks 10 prop up shech o f plastic ..... hen instead yOll could sec all the ga laxies your mind could populate and hea r Ihe cllp-<:lop or their dallCing citi.(cns' feet abo~e.

My 1w."Cls ri ~c above my head and perform a j ig in tnc clouds. And he SilyS I can't do ca rtwhl,:cis. In the moming chill we fight ove r our one pillow and e\erylhing look ~ different. This i ~n 't the magical .... orld .... e in hab ited last nighl. Where are the pixies" leprcch~uns. and axe-murderers? They're S<l il ing r.lm-rod stra ight to the sta rr. in a shoe (the lillie old lady who lived there Ollce was evicted).

rebeca martinez

We get lost. "Spin you r machete around; .... e' li go where it stops !" "Don't De st up id, Katie," he tells me. But I sti ll smi le wher! he picks the one I wanted. And on lhe way back we sing as loud as we can, hopi ng ou r voices reach our ;l)(e-murderer turned sai lor frieml. At the door 10 my apartment, my stomach sprouling int o a garden of joy and ad\en lure and other tasty vegetables, he kisses me. "Let's just De friends, ~ nc says. I smi le and say ok as he walks out lhe door. Then I cartwheel down the hall and do d double-back handspring straight to lhe furthest galall: y .... c could sec last night, wdving at my friends in the shoe being held Capli\c by pil1ltes. Thai's what they get for stealing a little old lady's ho me. Friends? Bah-humbug. What does he know?



potatoes, millct, corn. When I tum the page I recognize my ..... ri ting from a few Ye.Jrs ago. This is the notebook I slartcd .... ri ti ng for Tomio. I begall writing when he .... as hom

little man ~

sanae lemoine

with Ihe idcil of giving illo hillllwcnty years from now. It's very simple, as I sk im o\er the lines: what ti me I feed him, flow heav y he is. This is for wher. you are an adult, is the first line. The second: Do you know Ihal you \\-ere born in tcn minutes? Later I .... rile, I think I'm gOing lo brcaslr.,.'{!d you for a year and a half. Mother would wake up at sil!. in the morning to m<lke me my obclllo ~nd now that Tomio is growing older hc'lI soon need


packed !Linch for school. I'll make him pasta

with melted comic, pickle<! daikon. I add these last items 10 Ihe list.

D anie l is at his parent' s place, painti ng. I su ppose. A scquel lo his last; the

blaek cave, that's ho ..... l \c named iL When he first sho .... ed il to me, he said it ..... as a painting ofa storm, Ihe one from last October. I imagined il as Father路s bedroom, no light and d collC(:lion of owl and dog figurines. I can almost hedr the rddio buaing morn ing news. Fathe r sits on his bed and his face is bloated. I Ie refllses to drink water bc1:ause he says thaI ifhe docs he necd~ to go to the bathroom. The .... arm scat of the Toto toi let .....ould be an incentive enoush, I think, but Ihe doctors tell us it's incontinence. It's <llmost ("i"ht p.m. nod there's sti llli"ht coming through thl' shades. The kitchen i,, 'ong, a thin rectangle. I lean againsl lhe counter pu~hing my sole'> agai nst the op!)Osite wall. I've forgotten 10 buy fresh food , I cdn't find rice for the ricc<ooker and the shoyu bottle is almost empty. Mother was disappointed \o\hen she visited. She hadn't leR Japan in a few years and she had on ly <lgreed. aner hou rs of phone calls. to make the trip. The kitc hen IJcks of spirit, she SOlid. It needs more food, more objects, the c<lbinets neLod to struggle against the jars of food. Look how you open everything so freely. She washes gre.1SC off the plates with hot ...路ater. Her fingers are strong and the steam hardly bums her. AI nighl she se l ~ oul bowb dnd spoons on the table for breakfast.

Tomio walks into the kitchen and sits in Ihe space between my extended legs and Ihe floor. Because I ha\e short legs, hi~ head pu she~ dgdinst my knees. He starts count. ing in twos \0 thirty and then sta rts again. Tell me a story, he S<lys. Olle day a womJn squatted Dehind a tree because she needed 10 go 10 the bath. roo~

How btld did she need to go? Oh very, I say. In fact, she didn' t even real i7e the wind was blowing so Slrong. It was winter. But she didn't care. And so as she bent down and pulled up her skirts a big gust of wind blew under Ihe fabric and blew her ~ ....ay. Tomio laughs, clapping his hafld~, then leans aga insl lhc tiles wi th his palms under his chin and rolls on the ki tchen floor. I cl<>cse one of the open cabinet doors so that he \\'on'l hit his head. DJniel calls and says he'll be home soon. I tel l him Ihal \\'e' li be going out to cat 10flight because I've forgotten to shop. Again'! he asks. But I think he's smiling and then he tells me he could do wilh a thick miJanesa. Since \o\ e're flying out to SJn Francisco tomorrow, it doesn '\ matter irthere's lillIe food al the ~p<l rt ment, he says over tile phone. Utlt just this time, Maya, okay? . I agree and whefl he hangs up I lake my lined notepad to write OU I a list of ingredIents. Apples, parmesan, rice (half-bro .... n). shoyu, salmon, green beans, milk, s ...<eel


I start cle~fling the kitc hen dnd I begin wi th the refrigerator. I take out the few vegetabk'S from the containe rs and wipe the dirt off the bottom. The sides have jam and hardened dulce de leche from a can Ddniel boughl a month ago. I throw OU I mustard and dried lemons. As I'm aooul to <.OOp the lop shelf I hear Daniel walk in. In the living room I can sec thdl Tomio's fa llen asleep by Ihe foot of the sofa. Daniel grabs him by the ..... aist, sw inging him ur around his neck. Tamil), Tom io, he S<lys. No, no! DJniel walks up to me afld when he take:. me close I rub my soapy hand~ on his trousers. How is my Maya, he ~s k s. He presses his fingers up my Ileck and to my scalp, with his palms cups the back of my head. My hair is <;0 short-al aoout four c~ntimeters long, it's short~r than histhdt he can路l rca lly pulL Ready'..' Let's go, Daniel says, drying my fi ngers with a dishto\',e1. I put socks on Tomio's feet and masS<lge the soles, pressin!! on cnergy points. and then I masS<lge his legs. It's a short ... alk. Daniel had insisted on living in Barrio I\orte, and the apartment is a small place on the comer of la~ Heras and Montevideo. Whefl we arrive, Manalo lakes us to our usual table on the far left of the restaur.lIlt. Tomio throws himsclfacross the scat arid stays on his back, his hJ lld ~ stre tched out at the cei ling. Daniel looks at a couple sittin!! ned to us and keeps eyeing them. I don't say anything and he doesn't answer when I ask him \o\ha t he's going to eat. The menu is hea ... y and I buW mysclfby reading the mdin course dishes although I know lhem by heart. I always thought my body WJ ~ like a boy 's. No brea~l'> and no thighs. I only IJc k wide shou lders. I never tell Daniel but there's little I can cat becallstl my body doesn't absorb food and I can't hold it in my stomach. As much as I cat, .t runs through my system. He says he likes me even if l'm bony and 3fldrogynous with my men's hair. My little man, he used to ca ll me. I mdke an effort when I dress, to look feminine. But m0'51 of the li me I we~ r long shirts thJ t cover my small h i p~. Lentils I can digest, and carrot ~ if they're cooked. When Daniel first took me 10 Dcd he cradled me in his armpil because he can do that with me. He told me I was his fi rsl girl, but that \o\as sil!. years ago. DJniel orders two milancsas, spinach, salad, while rice, and a bowl of sp;!ghetti for Tomio. How is the painting'..'l ask. It should take mcj usl a few more hou rs, he tells me. I think we shou ld gel a maid. What do you think'..' To look after Tom io, I was thinking. She could also be a nanny. I stare al Daniel and he doesn' t look at me directly. When he lets his hair hang like Ihal l know he's a"oidiflg somelhing. What's the point? We don't need anyone. We don't work at the same time.


We've been doing fine . Maya, tlold you I don't h..... e the time anll I told you 1Daniel doesn'l speak anymore because Tomio is silting up M'Id looking at us. The fOO<! arri ... cs and I start culling smd ll slices of milllllcsa, co\"crillg each one with spinach. Tomio licks the oil from the strands of s.paghetti before eating. Daniel and I had decided wc ...路oulll wai t at least ten yea ~ to howe children. I said he .... ould ha ... e to enlertain me, in the meantime. lie wou ld read to me--everything, menus, books, instructions on how 10 i n~t<lll a bcd, he'd take leanets from my hand~ ll nd rCdd to me as ifit were poelry. I thought it was so odd but I liked the way he stroked my arms and thighs in the e\'ening while he read Carpentier.

When Tomio is asleep I ask Daniel aoout the maid and nanny. I don't wan t 10 look after Tomio on Monda ys and Tuesdays, he r.ays. What are you going to do? You'll still be in the apa rt ment. I'm not aski ng you to watch him e"ery second of the day. I to ld you I was not fit for this. Being human? I scowl at him. Maya! He ho lds me and says, You know we had dccidcllto let it Ix: Just us for now. Yes, but then you said you though t you could, that it .... ould be Ihe inspiration you were mhsing, you saidI don't reca ll those words. Ddnici, I can look after Tomio. After all, I've been meaning to get back to my studie... I can stop ...路ork. I could st udy from home, by correspondence. I could finally work on my Ihesis. l ie docsn'l respond and I hit him on the chest as hard as I can. II fccls more like a sla p. He winces 3ndjumps back in the bed. hitting himself against the wooden frame. God, Maya, you're crazy. Whal's Tomlo going to be like raised only by a crazy mother? I hit his chest again and thi s time I see a warm red mark thaI I louch :tnd he r.ays he will sleep on the sofa. He sta nds up to leave but then he sits back do .... n, looks at me rrowning, Ix:causc: he n:membcrs how cold I get .It nigh l. t know that Daniel wan ts to be an in tellectual, iln art ist. someone of grandeur and merit. Not an engineer, not working for God know~ what company that designs shaving ulensi ls. Tha t night I dream about furn iture. It has ~It bl.:en rearranged and I am wa lking ~round my room observing the change. trying to rememlx:r how it was before. When I wake in the morn ing t louch the wall behind my head and \"erify that everything i ~ in its place.

We're driving along a road and the fog is so thick I think we migh t slip at one of the curves. Inside it is warm enough, (.:specia ll y with Daniel's hand on my knee. D.. nid .... an ts to ~t:c Ihe Russian River so we dri"e north ilnd the we.1ther is darker there. We have rec;erYations at a small bed .. nd breakfast. the Green Apple Inn in Freeslone. We stop at a Safeway close to Occidental to buy picnic food. t wa lk along th e ais les to find bread, ham, goat's cheese, and pears. We ~top by the river and sit on some rocks. The river is ~'Cry n at- I had imagined something a lillie morc wild. Russian River. I thoughl it would h.we character, but it only ripples now when Daniel throws pebbles on the smooth surface. The sun hasn't


set yet and the sky is still a murky grey-blue with the trees lcaning verticall y. I can feel stones through the thin soles of my sanddls and I Wl"'dP my shirt tighter around my stom~ch. We cut the PC<lrs and Cdt them while looking at the darkening sky. Ddniel is walking a long the river and 1 ~ i t bdck on the rocks. The air is so cold that it reminds me of Nishi Hachioji and then t think oflhe temple. We visilt.'d the temple with my parents. It was a fami ly friend's place. They were making omoch i outside in the fron t yard, hitting the rK:c with a ... roden stick. Before I left for Argen tina. aner my two yea l'S at Wased~ University, my mother gave me her aguamarino earrings. She had bough t them in Rio de Jane iro in the fift ies. Are you certain that you wanllo Iive there" Bucnu~ Ai,~ h... ~ changed, 5hc .'IoIIid. And do you kno ........ hat .... ill make you happy? she asked. I can ~mell a bameque nearby and I sec a fdillily sitting on the other side of the turn. gri ll ing fish. Maya, Daniel ye Us out at me. I walk over to .... here he is sta nding and he smiles, pulling hiS shirt collar up 10 his neck. Ah, it's cold, he says. t hold myse lf aga inst his goose bumps. It's nice hcre. witlwut Tomio. and being together, he says. I'm g lad Tomio is with my parents for a fe ..... day~. I can't breathe and 1 don't speak to him on the drhe back to the inn. Maya, ..... hat's wrong? I wasn'tlx:ing serious. I didn't mCdn it in tha t way. Which "a y, 1 say quietly, not looking dl his hdir Of race. He think s there arc many ways to be in tunc wi th you~clf DJ1d your thoughts, to undc~tand Ihe thoughls of olhcrs. Builihink there's one simple ..... ay. You're almost thi rt y. I say. I still ha ve t ..... o years.

This is creepy, I tell Daniel when we are in bed. There arc green apples every..... here in Ihe room. The .... allpaper has apple drd ..... ings. the so.1p smel ls likc green apples, there arc sma ll wooden apples and I imagine them glowing in the ddrk. I can feel Daniel run his lips ac ross my Dbdomen and l1e says he did not mean hi s earlier .... onis. Words earlier all. Or all your ..... ords, I ask him, pu~hing his mouth away from my sk in. I can't hear him dn ymore under the CO\'crs and I tell him t can't accept his apology so soon, but I let him gl ide his fi ngers down my legs. The bed smells musty and I sneeze until the sky turns grey. I can't sleep b",(:Duse I can fecl lhe dust st'(:ping into my nose and I have sneezing fils. Daniel stays awake with me brushing tissues over my face. I alnlOSl feel dust fa lling from thc tissue ilself and it only increases the sn,,'C.,d ng. He touches my eyelid~ ..... ith his tongue when they water from Ihe effort. tJ utterily, he calls me, nol his lillie man. I look aside every few minules, catching my breath alld seeing ..... hat color the sky is. It's all different shades and changes .....ith the fog, as it rolls in thick. 00 you ..... ant to get some air outside? Daniel asks. I nod. Will you dress me, I say, hold ing the pillo ..... a ... ay from my checks. lie pulls my underwear up Illy thi n thighs. slips a ..... hite lop o"er my head and mou lds it to my body, pLlshes my letl leg, and Ihen my righ t leg in to jeans-he ean't fi nd my socks so he takes the socks from his feet, and he dresses my feet with Ihem. We ..... alk outside and I try 10 breathe in the hum idity as the nigh t air .... hccles in and out of my ches!. When .... e return to bed I know the sun is ri ~i ng soon and the rog wi lilitl in a few hours. Daniel sleeps and I curl inlo a bdll against his bdck, grasping onto his wdi~1. Maya, he said. lhe fi~t time .... e met. It sounds like a kind o r food. he told me.


He d idn't un~rstlnd .... hat a Japanese woman ..... as doing in Buenos Aires, I told him my father was a diplomat and I'd spent most of my childhood in South America. I counted in Japanese but otherwise I m"inly spoke Spanish. Because I was studying educational psychology he asked me if I would inspect his drawing. Where is yOllr famil y? Tokyo, I told him, Megurn. to De exact. He says I afn his little m"n. You hold on to me so tightly .... hen ..... e sit.-ep sometimes I can't breathe. I wake up in the middle oflhe night and you have rOlfr arm~ c,llImp~d Hound my torso, your nil! chest IIguinst my ilbdomen, and I have to uncurl your flllgers from me to gel my lungs back into ~ h ape. I cooked 11irn a I1lca l the fir~t night. He ~ i d, Make me something J~p~nese. I cooked udon with a hard-boi led egg, chicken, spinach, thi nl y sliced carrots. t made lofu croquettes ..... ith shiit<lke mllshrooms and cabbage- not particularly Jap;! nese, but a recipe from my molher. I've had fant ..sif.'lI of you with long h.. ir, he says. Daniel has on ly known me wilh the short, boY·Cllt. And ....·h.. t do I look like? A siren.

. . Beca~~ I can'l sleep I think of Father and how he would stay awake all night Iistenrng to hrs smal l radio. Mother cou ld sleep and she had her room. Ambassadors from eight different countries come to Father's funera l. I arrive a few houJ"'i, a fter his death and the doctors tel l me that they had to rush him to the ho~pi lal on Mondil y because he was dehydrated. The Idst year he i~ ~ma l l and his skin rt;:d from scratching. II itehe$, he complains, Whal can I do to help, I ask h im. ,Wil l ,you coo~ me dinner, .I rice, frif.-d , ..... ilh vegetables, carrots, he sayS 10 me, mas$ilgmg hiS face .... Ith his fingers. . In Ihe small kitchen 1 cut all the ~egetabl es I find in the refrigeralor into small pieces and I chop parsley, I fry three eggs alld cut spring on ion. There is umeboshi that I put in a bowl. Mother i ~ sitting al the tab le <l nd she asks me ifs he has walered the pl~n I S. I tell her yes, three times. She SJys she j ust ca n't remember, surely she hasn't and perhaps the dirt i ~ dry. She walks o~er and when she feels the d irt it is so soaked wit h waler Ihat. il sti~ks to her 11and lea~ing blJck Im rks. I watch 11er bend over the pots Jnd sec he r thin wal ~t. My fa ther would say, ller breasts arc like two cherrif.'S, After di nne r I tak.c her to the b,lthroom and undress her, I see how her siomach is soft and there are no ~rtnk l es. We wash and I help her a~ she reaches to scrub her legs. Then I lel her ~ k 111 thc bath ~nd place .. sm~ 11 towel on her forehead. This hurts, she lells me, pointi ng to her abdomen, SO I rub the smooth skin and my face is red from the steam. I am sweating from Ihe heal bul when I run cold wa ter, she snaps at me. Tom io is two years old and he s its in the empty space between Father's crossed legs. lie edts cornflakes without milk and drinks <I smal l cup of lea. Tomio and Father watch T V. It's a Japanese comedian and Tomio can't stop taughing al though he doesn' t unde~tand but then he spills tea and father looks down startled. I can he.. r the drone o f the cI~t ric foot.massager as mother push~"S her feet on t~e machine. We eal dinner and l listen attenti . . ely for Father's si lence, the signal of hiS agreement and satisfaction, of hi ~ stomach content. I already fec l lhe rice rumble uncomfortable in my stomach and I wonder if this is not a fam ily syndrome, some so~ of Incomprehensible flUidity ofthe body that allol'.5 nothing to stay too long in it. ralher


murm urs. Quiet, but I hear his nod of approbation. I suddenly sit up in bed and snf."eLe with violence. It's 5e\'en a.m. and I sti ll can't slccp. Daniel is stretched out next to me. t Ie had insisted tha t I come to the US, He said you couldn ' t be in yo urtwf.'f1 lies and not visilthe West Coast. I told him I'd seen many coasts in my life. I grew up on an island. II's not Ihe SJme, Maya. Sometimes you're rea ll y cio<;cd·mindcd. In Japan I cal sweet poUltocs in the slreet, Daniel gags at the smell, but we both Iike to tOllch Ihe stationary in Ihe slores as It fecls "0 rich, Dan iel is snoring next to Ille. rill anxious, I can't sleep, and It 's already d~y, t think that if my mind wi ll rest and stop thinking I'll be able to cal brCJkf~ st. If I' m too tired an omelel and apples-~s prurniSt.'<i 011 the brochure of th e inn-wi ll m~ke me n.. uscous.

II's lime to ..... ake III', Maya, we'll miss Ihe breakfast. Daniel sh~kes mc. It's our last day in California before we return 10 Bucnos Aires. After breakfast ..... e stdnd outside the inn, I·tere, Daniel, I say, ho lding oul my last bag. He's busy o rga the bag~ in Ihe car, and when he turns around he looks em· barrassed. I notice that in the process o f ~rr~nging Ihe suitcases in the tru nk he's placed my oogs al the . . cry back, and his are half out. l ie tells me, Maya, I'm going to stay here a little wh ile. A few days. 1 think I'm going to stay here b)' myself. 1 edended Ihe reservation for our room. Bull .... an t you 10 go bad. and gct Tomio to take him to the .. p~ rtmcnt. I oon 't think we can keep him with my parents so loog. Stay here! Whal do you mean? I can't gob.lclo:: now, and it's better if you give me ~ few dilys. When .Ire yoo going to return? I'll write to you. Can't you usc a pay phonc? I don't carry coins. This is absurd, Daniel, Wh ..I's happened to yo u'! I ask, and now the owner of the inn Slicks out his head from the kitchen ..... indow. I push D.:micl to the side so ... e are fac ing away from the house. My little man, he says, pulling mc to hi ~ che~t. Don't you dare! I yell, and he doesn't move when I pull his suitcase out of the

"H. My flight stops in Salt Lake Cily, I ha~c an hour to wait at the airport and I find a seat f:lc ing a ..... 0111 so I don't have to hide my flushed face. I sleep for a few minute$, I awake. My mind starts ..... Of"klng f"rioosly and .tlthough I try In ignnre Ihe healed motor of though ts they conti nuc to rumble inside. I can remember when Daniel visited my home in Japan. lie and I had ..... alched TV .... ith Father e\ery morn ing unlll .... e left for Buenos Aires. Al though it was in lap;!' ne~, Daniel would look attentively ~t the scr~'en. Mother ga\e me coconut CI"Cdm fOf my stomKh slo::in for when il would stretch.


i like my men like

m l croissants

ariella chivil ~~t

cocked hips and a smile

Y ou ma ke me lick my fingers, dear

and cra ve the 51ightest touch must take you with


grain of sa lt

100 sweet,

you never soften up enough

most recognizab le when fi rm, qu ite a package to conta in

you arc a most unhca ltr. y love doctors 01\ say to refrain Su bstitu tes may 11)'but barely fill my nooks and cranrlies I could never get enough, I fcar. for you spread yourself wlh irl set yourself up to be divided

by the wcake~l incision, like a kn ife through buffers dissolving with the hint of warmth failing to remain solid in the most tryi ng afcl imate Anticipate your demise?

Ha! I coul d time it. Yet you send my heart a nultcr-

" I can', bel ieve it's nol- " Love.

collin schenk 16


toxic ~

anne huang


hen Leah's boyfriend dumped her \l i<l FdCcbook, hr: wrote that her face looked as if it had been mixed in it blcl1der and thrown back togethe r. All sfle could do WJS stare JI her Dene for the rest of the dlly. She llwd a com!,!dC! because some girls had ~tolcn

the mirror"\ from the Waller Iligh School ba throoms,

"D;miclic, I don', understand pI..,oplc ..... ho spend all th eir li me studying:' Leah said. She kepi pulling Clean ;md Clear oil-free acne strips oul of her pu~ and rubbing her face v. ith them. If yOll w.tlkL'tl behind her in a hallway, you could see the strips Sl icking out of hef bollom Ixlok bag pocket. "1 hate Agnieszka. I can', belie~e she' s ... aledietorian. I don't need \0 val idate myselfl ikc II1DI. My test scores arc /)ellef. And my life is morc fulfi lling." "She'll probably end up with more knowledge than the r~t ofu!l," I said. 路'No. a ll ker studying pro\'CS ho .... stupid she is, or else she wouldn't choose to waste her ti me." As ~hc covered her face wilh concealer, I real ized that I had ne."er .... atched anyone put on makeup before. " Hey, lin.' Waller Diges/has a funny article about the melal detectors," I said. "They noticed that the main doors are on one side, butl\'e have to wa lk down and lum to go through the metal deteclor. Iflhe school applied Ihe Pylhagorean Theorem, it'd be more efficient." ", gue'iS the lines wou ld be shorter," Leah ~id. " Junior yea r was hard. I cou ld'''e used a few e)(tra minutes." '" didn 't think it was so bad. Sophomore yea r was worse." "You wel'en't in crew junior year, so you wo uldn' t understand. 'never had any frl'C time after ' joined," " Hey, the sec urity gUHds loc ked this bdthroom agai n," I said, "Someorle probab ly set it Orl fi re, We .. hou ld leave Ihis tMth room break for later." "We COIn go 10 the other bathroom now," S<lid Leah. "It' .. at the opposite end of the block,'" I said. " I already have a tardy in Sp.mish." "well. I don' t un<k:rSland how you can sta no your face being so oi ly and not do anyth ing about it," Leah said.

MI have to te ll you. My roommate at college ma kes me walch hcr cal," I told l eah a yea r later. "You have a roommale now, in the summer?" Mt\O, during the school year." ''So you haven', seen her fOf a month. Why are you ta lking about somelhing tha i


happened so long ago? And why are you still calling her your roommate'l In my college I gcl to choose who I hang oul wilh. Maybe nc)(1 yea r you' ll meet more poople:' Wc sti ll had anolher II\'enty minutes 10 .... ait before Knocked Up began. I had made Leah get there early because she al""ys mdde us miss the ma li nee. "'What do you thInk of the South Side?" .. , like how people ~it on their porches Ihere," said Lea h. "Poople in my mom's neighborhood think the Soulh Side's dangerous. Maybe people on the South Side just get out of the house, so shit's gonna happen. I like livinll there. I think of it as an uercise in po"crty." "A whal in wh~t?'" said. "Someone broke our car window laSI month and I haven't gotten it fixed." said Leah. " I would never have lei il sit in hillh school. BUllhi s is wha t people ill Iny new neighborhood do. They're ell ill. It 's interesting to ~ how poor people live." "I don't consider Ihe people Ihcrc poor," I SOl id. " 11'5 where I live:'

"I like ho .... they're so e~p lici t about tke 'shrooms," said Lcah, " '-'ty boyfriend ...路ould love the Cirque du Soleil scene. Cirque du Soleil is alrc.ldy disorienting. Imagine wa tching it high." "You know what's odd, Ihough? The director said that, if anything, the movie's more an ti-drug than pro-drug because tke cle~n characters arc the oncs with jobs." "You're so brainwashed, Danielle. Pot is a good way to network. You can' t belie .. e all the anti-drug propaganda you read:' " I d idn't say that I agreed," I said. " I jUSl lhought the interview was interesting because ii 's not how I wou ld'"e Interprctl'd the movie:' "Who is J udd Apatow to say what makes someone s ucccssfulT said Leah. " He's a guy who makes a lot o(money. lie's saying wh~tcver will make him more money. My boss smokes pot ali lhe time, and she has a job." "I d idn't Soay success was aboot having a job either," I said, my face fl ushed.

" This is Cla rk and Lake," sa id the mechanical vo ice on the 1:.1. "Door.> open on the left at Cla rk arid La ke. Transfer to Blue, Grcen, Orange, and Pu rp le Une tra ins at Clark and l ake." " Daniclle, when' Ihi nk of Waller, I thin k ofbaUu'oollls and you," said Aisling. " I saw Leah's new boyfriend last week," , said. " Really'l" sa id Aisling. " If she showed you. Ihalmeans she's showed him to everyonc. Mimi te)(ted me last week to say she'd ~en him. She was trying to figure out how old he was." " How many times have you seen leah this summer'!" said Lana. "T.... ice... 1 said. "You saw her only twice, and he had to be there Orle of those times," said Lana. "We JUst .... ant to hang out WIth her," said Aisling, "Ske dlways brings her boyfriend. She lexts me at the last minute to a~k. 'Is it okay if I bring Carmelo? Oops,' even though she knows how "e feel about it. The one tIme he wasn't Ihere, snc said, 'Wow, this wasn't boring.''' "Have you noticed? Girls who are obsessed Wi th their boyfriends tend nol to have very good girl friends," sa id Lana. "Maybe she Ihinks ii's less imporunl to have good Sirl friends," I said. "But that doesn't mean I\'e h~ve to put up with it," said ,\isling. "lana and I


haven't just been casual fricllds .... ith her. We've been through too much for her to igllore us now." "Shc kept tal king .. bout how she helps his mom make cthnic foods," I said. ~S he made him sournllike a foreigne r, but he turned out to be OIS American as anyone else." "Of course shc .... Quld do that," said Aisling. ''Shc 's thinks he 's el(olic. She's sho .... ing him o fflo everyone because she finall y ha~ a boyfriend ~ ho's not ugl y and cOIn hold a convcr&alion. Remember, LOIna'~ Leah's last boyfriend 1'035 homeless. The g uy before that was thirty-fi ve." " t didn' t kno ....路 aooul lhcm," t ~llld. I didn', know why I .... as lhe Olle wno felt Ihe need to pro~ e myself. " I wonder whOl t's worse: being thirty-flvc orbcing hOIl1c1ess?~

the reasons why i'm easy

tranae hardy ;-!~1-

I. you let Ihe thought lillger too long. the momen t has passed and the lime for roman tic notions ha s fled, but ~e can go on withoul lhem. deflo me (again). pause for a confession (o r less). I'm easy. kiss me hard in pri~"le places and i'li he sure not to tell (Uw t yo u are exactl y the same).

II . can't remember how it felt bcforo--before legs intert .... ined before bodies mashed before heavy lmathing and soft panting before you ga~e me a glimpse at being so intangibly whole that il hurt III. delicate ",hore givi ng it OIway ~o freely flaunting corruptibility object o f lust purity lost


路 senses selectIve

~J\-~ '~"

shana rusonis

little girls should be polite

street vendor selling . balloons at gran poder festIval

Simply seen, and never hc;mJ You never heard it word from me It's all just you and your vani ty

Selective senses, 3 caplive mind lCdlling my carnest plca ~ behind Your self-loathing, my fal se sense oflrust M<lk ing enough convcrsdl ion for the both of us M y mouth is an ollCn sore Coming undone once more

Bleeding oul \'o"ord:. I don' , mean to say

But it doesn', matter You're not listening Go ahead and c;cript, my dea r The conversation you want to hear You r cars seal sh ut wi th m usic. scnsclcs!> You r eyes are gtaled over behind lenses Cl"~flcd to match your dis torted view Or lhe person sta nd ing before yo u

I'm not pull ing stunls or playing tricks Don', you dare define me wi lh those Iyrin Won't you listcn 10 my words?

jake ratner

I know you 51.:C me, but I'm ncv(.:r hCdrd



female, Tom expects her to bcha .. e like either a heteroscllual or lesbian \<o'oman. In doing so, he enacts Sedgwick's crilic.J1 depi(;t ion o f hcteronormJti.. e society; Sedgwick Delieves lhat society misuses gender of object (;ho ice a~ the only sig nificdnt de terminer of sexua l orientJt ion. She insis ts lhal there is in faci a plethora of Jdditional preferences, including "certai n acts," "certain zones or scnsa li on ~," and "certa in number of p.Jrticipanls;' wi th wh ich sex ualit y should be determined.路 Yel. as Tom demonstrates,there i~ no room in heteronormative society for anything olher than gender in determin ing Teena/Brandon's se.\ uali ty. DurinS Teena/Brandon', gcnillli c .... po'>urc, lh(; IiIm dcpictlthe self-reflection queel"5 Un<k.'fgO to evaluate their functional socia l success. This is consistent with Warner's argument that the hele rosexu.J1 syste m forces queel"5 to question the ir peculiar socia l place. He writes, '"Queers do a kind of practi cal ;,ocial reflection just in finding ways ofbcing q uccr.~l Warner's rhetoric emph.JsiLes the incommcnsur.Jbilil y of heterosexual and q ueer li... es in heteronorm cl tivc society. I\avigating Ihe ir sexuality, queers ultimately disco.. cr that it is nol limi ted to <;ex. and Ihal il instead stigmatiLtS almost e\ery aspect of thei r lives. Thus, lheir social marginall7.ation never end~ Rcitern ling Sedg\<o' ic k's arguments, Warner con tends that queers rem.lin closeted in order to a"oi d defeoding the ir sex ual beha ... ior. To emphasi7e Teena/ Brandon's personal reflection of he r experience, Ihe fil m ... isually illustrates th e disj unctio n o f Tee na/Brandon'~ fon::ed iden tity. First th e ... iewer sees Ihe fema le ide nti ty Tecna, hel d down by .Iohn and Tom; then the camera angle shows her being watched by her male form, Br.-odon, in a spotl ight Weaflng hi.. usual plaid shirt, Brandon watches leena as c ... eryone else wa lks away, He looks like an outs ider, as though he does not recognize Ihe female venoioll of himself. Whi le Teena/Brandon relates 10 bolh males and females, her iden tity has been broken into irreconcilable components. In the contexl of Sedgwick 's and Warner's th eories, Boy,~ Don" Crydcmon路 strales Ihe illadequclcy of redu ctive melhods in explaining sexuality. Joh n and Tom force Teena/ Brandon to have sex with male part ners. ~Ild she is ultimately killed irl their hateful rampage. Thei r imposition ofa scxucll role forces Teena 10 confront Ihe inab il ity o f fam il y, friends, and police au thori l ies to understand her queerness aod accept her humanity, By dep icting conti nuous ignor.lnce and \l io lence, the film asserts that marginalizing queerness is a problema tic and dangerous response to identit y conflict Rejecti ng such restrict ions on se~u al ity, we must usc Sedgwick's and Warner's theories to aspire to a more inclusive social mode l. (E ndnotl-S)

I Boys DontCry DVD, dir. Kimberly Pei rce. (1999 ; New York: IFe Films,

20(9). Unless otherwise specified, further quolalions in Ihis text cl re from this film.

2 Eve Sedgwick, EpistL'fTlO/0gyofthc C/oset(Berkley: Universi ty of California Press, 1990),9. 3 Ibid, 26. 4 Ibl(t. tI.

S Michdcl Warner, " Introduction," in re,lrofiJ ~ PI.met, cd. Michael WlIrncr, vii-xxx (Minneapolis: Uni ... ersity ofMinnesold Pres'>, 1993), vii. 6 Sedgwick, 9. 7 Warner, xiii.

an odd smell of coffee


wiktoria parysek - "

A n odd smell o f coffee mixed with laurld ry dct ergelll wafts in my din::c\ion a~ I pass the ki tchen, My mother to<;ses another load inlo the \<oasher before she leaves thc hou <;c and I pull on my o .. ersized. woolen jacket, wrap my coarse, home-knit scarfarOUlld my neck. A~ alwa ys, Ihe Lippe r in my jacket jams, and I wasle precious minutes loying with il unli l my mother comes and helps me, ci S if I were learning how to do it for Ihe firsl time. She kisses me on the chec k, and I pull b~c k in disgust, com plaining abou t thc stale sme ll of ciga rettes thai lingers lrl her hair, She apologilcS and tells me tha t she loves me, almost as a peace offering. We both say, "God be with you." We don't go to chun::h. We don' t pray. Yet, this phrase has stuck with us like a .... om, comfortable blanket which we refuse to get ri d o f. 'low a million miles away, with the ocean in bet ..... ~.'e ll , I, the libert y Bell, she, the Berlin Wall. Even lile sun refuses to shi ne on both of us at lhe same li me, but I take out tha i ..... orn blanket, bn::athe in its homely musk, fall to my knc\.-'S an d pra y tha t God is with her today.



beneath her skin -;,.1-.1't

agatha taveras She peers up at him blea rily

untitled series

In the morning light And his {;lee is blurred in her tired sight :

l ie is a shock of brown hair and gray-green eyes AgJinSl lhc aura backdrop of Ihe cei ling. bright white.

But hi:. touch is like fire on her <lbdomen Acute against the life puls.a li ng \\ilhin

As he feels for the kic k of thci r fint born chi ld Amid~t tile organs BCI1C.llh her skin.

katch silva



autoIIetIato con monos anne huang ~ ~t Eoin ~allaghan School. Prc-K to 8, none orlhc Chim,..'Sc girls knew how to Shd~C thei r legs. L ily IHlu to a~k OUf homeroom teacher to show her. Othcrwi~c, she wa s

afra id 10 WCilr a dress to the gradua tion boat-Irip dance ~ I Lake Michigan. In seventh grade my si~tc r Jear.ette and r had joined th e swim team at thc Valen ti ne Boys & G irb Club. Its enlrance had two totem poles. Mama and IJaoo said ~hat shaving your legs WJS unm:cc~sary, but Ifley weren'llhc ones who had to Dcar thc

Judgm.ent of a room .fu l,' of adolescent children. The old Chinese ladic~ ~'c rcn 't shy about ("poSing their armpits In Ihc locker room showen.. bUI whenever I stepped onlo the pool deck, ali I could thmk about were the little black cu rls all o\;e( my body.

.. h.'1\':

~ to sal' C up all my money 10 ~uy m3g~zi~ and nlilkcup,"lily sa id during play protetlCC. I have to milke mysc lf look like the girls m these magazines." "Don't be ~Iu pid, " I sal.d. "You' ll nc\<er look ' ike the girls in thosc magal'ines." . She ?roughllhe maga"lnc closer to her face. ·'Bcyoncc did her eyebro\'o S wrong. ThiS looks differen t from the rules I rcad in Seventccn." "":hat do yo~ mean, BcyollCc's wrong" She has a whole ma keu p and publicity team. You re wrong. ' . Two Wt:'Cks ~fore lhe school musical, ROSOlnna Gi lles, the one non-ChinCl.e girl In our class, laught Lily to do her eyebrows for rca l. She and li ly cui cl.tSS so tha i Lily could learn. Jeanette :trld I pl.dyed with .Ihe strroe lights and fog machines during dress reo hearsals. A JeWish nllrsmg hOllle 111 Skokie in vited us to si ng a few excerpts. . ·' Is that the A~ian fa irT· Ryan from the Boys and G irls C lub asked when he saw Ollr pictures. '"No, it's Fitklkron thc Rool," I answered. Jeanette and I pla yed Bie lke and Shprintle, the youn gest daughle rs. . In ei?hth grade my d"ssmates told me I could n't CMry a con"'ersalion. As an alternatl",e, I did mdth with Mama in the kilchen. To prevent our backf};lc ks from weighing dow n ou~ shou lders, Mamil ordered ex tra copies of Jeanette's and my heaviest textbooks. They ar~,;ed. too late. to be usefu l. Mdmil said, '"It's okay. I can read them for myself. For I~e II s like readmg a novel." While we never saw her watch TV, she rcad my physica l science book afl er I went to sleep.

"Yo~ have lobe CJreful nol to make anyone mad in America, Genevieve," sa id M.ama. Unlike my teacher<; al school, she had triang les for eydlfOws and went 10 .... ork \'0 I l hou~ ma keup. She'd been .... earing Ihe same speckled Sports Xchange sweatshin ~Ince 1996. You should always let other people have the ir .....ay. In America people call buy guns. If you make someone angry, Ihey can shoot you." '"~ha l do you mean. in America'!"' t asked. "Irs not like I h3\<e an ywhere clse to compare It to."


'"I feel unsafe in this country," ~ id Mdma. vSorncone is always gelting shot I printed oul another art icle for you 10 read. A girl got stuck on a ride at Six t- Iags yester· ddy." " I don', care." I said. "Don· t make me look at it: ' By the time I w ..s Ih irteen, I ...... s " head Lil ller Ihall her. All she had ever wanted was for me 10 be tall . I stopj)Cd calling her " Mama'· and started c .. lling her '·Woman.~ 1 kne ..... it was unforgivable. B.. ba yelled at me dnd ~ did Ihat I bullied her. but he worked too o rten to back her up. So when Jeanette and I were bad, ,.....,am .. locked us in Ihe space between the (ro rlt door ,md the apartmenl OOor. When Bab~ was home, he wasn 't dfrdid 10 hil llle. "Hilti ng you is ou r wa y of saying we love you," he ~1id . One tim e he hit me 'lO hard my n{.'Ck laec fell o ff. The re a mark on my hand for Ihe next ~ iK months. I sLtrt{.-d 10 skip the subsidil{.-d lunches at the school cafeter ia so thai I cou ld save money to buy razors. !IS cents al a time. I prelended to be saving coi ns for my stat e qua rter collection . Il linois, Alaooma, Maine. I wasn' l allowed 10 leave ou r apartment by myself, so I ha d to snea k oul to go to the Walgreens ncxt OOor. I wra pped the rulOrs and shav ing cream up in loi let paper ilnd hid them beneath Ihe papers in one of my drawers. Jea nette found Ihem and chased me outside. ~ I'm going to tel l on you," she said . Mama laughed. I opened a letler from doctor thai said Mama might have s kin cancer. I reported Ihe letter s conlents to Ma ma when she got home from work. '·Thank you," she said. I didn· t hea r from her a!:lou l it again. I couldn·' imagine doing math without her. Instead of birthday pre<;enl'l, my parenb boughl me a licket to see a musical every yea r. Jea nette came wilh me to see The King and J. As she got sick of drama, I moved on 10 Wickcdand A venue 0 by myself. I eon tillue<t 10 \'oateh Ihe aelors dance in theatres ,ha l used 10 be opulel1 t movie palaces. Wea ring a bri ghl red that swallowed my Dody, I played ~11 inspector in a Russian comcdy. "Gen, if you want to do th eatre, couldn't you d in.'(;\ or write?"' Mama asked al dinner one night. "1 guess. I wallt to act though," I said, beedllW il was the least stereotypical ca reer I coul d thin k o f. "Okay," Mailld sdid. "The only th ing that matters is hanging on to whalc\'er job yo u do get. Just don·t do something stupid, li ke ask ing for a ra ise. I told my colleague 110t to, and he wouldn' t listen. He gol la id off." "Shouldn' t that be illegal?'· I said. "If th ey say thcy"re I.lying you off, thcy don' t ha ve 10 gi,·e you a reason," she said. "They say thcy'li call you when there's a grealer demand, bullhey ne,'cr wi ll . That's what happened to him :· ·'Wait a minu te," I said. "Are you ta lking about the hypockondriac? IOllemeard you Iill kingon the phone \'o·hen it h~ppcncd. Il hought it was beca use he was afruld to n ush the toilet." "You shouldn 't lalk back to me," said Mama. "Gucss \'o hal!" li ly said, when I run into her at an aud illon in high school. '"It's the anni\ersary of the first ti me I did my eyd)ro\'o s." ·'You kepi track?'· I said. I was glad I had ne, er been close friends with her. "1 ha\e good I'ICws,·' Baba said to Jeanettc and me. He had stayed home a lot that winter. ,., didn't want to mention anyt hing earlier becau~ I didn' l wanl lo worry you.


II turns out the doctor made a mistake. Mama had unnecessary surgcry, but at least she doesn't have cancer." "Okay," I said. We went back to our homework. "They don't care," <;aid Mama. She swrtcd crying. I had never seen her cry before. "They wercn't wo rried. They ..... ould n路1 care if I d ied." " I didn't think you .... ere goi ng to die," I said. " I was the one ..... ho found the letter. Oon ' l you think we should do somelhing about the doc tor .... ho IllJdc the miSlakeT' "No, there 's no point," said (Jaba. " We should 1<.1 it go:' "Ains ley sa id somelhing IIwkw:lrd to me IIx.iJy," my best friend from e!cm..:ntary school S3 id. "She was like, 'lydia, I should take you to get someth ing done about your eyebro ..... s. ". "ThaI's condc<;cending," I sa id. " I don't know, maybe I wou ld like do something about them one day," said l yd ia. " l3ut I know how yo u fee i aboul that kifld of slu ff." In Ma y, I asked her, "Wl1al're those Google Map instructions for?" " I asked Ainsley 10 recommend d place to get my eyebro ..... s done for prom tomorrow," l yd ia sa id. I couldn'l look at her on Monda y. J was afrd id she would look disfigured. She tried to find me after school, bUl l kept walking to the bus stop. "I won't pay for yo u to ~t udy act ing in college," sa id 11.1.11113. " I know you wanl me to make the dec ision. I' m going to make it easier for you. or else you' ll blame me in Ihe future.~ "Why arc you Irying to conlrol me?" I SOlid. Mama laughed. " This is a chi hfs dream. 11010' can you wa nl to do Ihis serio ously'r' "Why did n't you say something bcforeT I asked. "Why d id you let me go tI1rough .... ith the interview and application processT' "You wou ld've been matl at me if I didn ' t lei you apply," Mama said. " I said I wou ld f)3y for college, bul J ..... on路1 f)3y for you 10 waste you r lime. Only pretty people can bt..'"Come actre!.scs. I don'llhink you 're ugl y," she added. "1 just mCiln tha t you're flol tale nted enough to succeed ~ I aCling." " I don ' t sec how Ihis is supposed to make me fee l better," I S-il id. "You onl y say that because you don路' ..... ant to pay for tuition. Just apply for financial aid." "We wouldn' t get it. The boy down the street didn't get lIny, and his mom's a substitute hcr." I went uJlSta irs to te ll Saba she made no sense. "Chi ldren don't deGide what makes sense in Illy cult ure," he responded. "I shouldn't trust Illy 0 .... n culture Ics~ than anyone elsc. What you need to do is stop crying. You're not try ing hard enough not to." " Whal Gen need ~ is a shrink," JCJneitc said. Now that she didn ' t like to speak Mandarin, she had less to say 10 the rest of us. " r-.o, .... e don ' t want that on he r record. You don' l wallt to risk an employer not hiring you," Mama said. "BCl>idcs, olher people ha ve rea l problems,~ Babot sa id. "Gen, you r life is per路 feet."

When I came back from college, I saw that Jeanene had frcely left a razor and sha vi ng cream in the bdlhlub. t was jealous. I spend my weekends before picture frame s in Il1 U ~e UlllS. " Why do people have eyebro .... s anywoly?" I ask. A Frid,l Kahlo print hangs in my bedroom. Aulorrctr.JfO con marIO$, oil on canVJS, 1943.


work on one terrace

collin schenk


(when the puppets turn ~l~t their faces to the wall and say no)

florentina dragulescu couch series

The ashtra y-man was getting along better and beller wi th the garbage-gi rl. l ie wo uld gel along wi th anyone in whom he left his.

I <1 m the cigarette- wo man. I am the diary-woman. t am Ihc woman-on-your-lids-.... hen-you-closc-your eycs.

I play with your fi ngers, wilh your smi le, your laxeS, lhc perfume in your bathroom, you r toothpaste. I play with your friends when you clO$C your eyes. Then I turn my (.tee to the wall and I ~y no. Then I come back 10 you. Then ~ou get me back. I play w ith yo ur women, I lellt he m alil he sec rets you don', want them 10 krKlw, 1 IcllIhem YOLI do n', love them, Ihd! it is just a 1! ~ llle, Ile ll them you' re do ing it for me, 1 lellIhcm that you lic. we are the eyelashes thOl I get stuck in your eyes, Ihe nai ls irl you r Ol:sh, the teeth tha t b ite you . gl:,..l:rall y speaking, people call us sabotage. \\c are the dreams you .... ish you wouldn 't h~"'I:. \<Oe llre firM name, last name, agc and

"'. we are the things you are embarrassed to buy. we llre the fa ... ol'S you arc embdrr'dsscd to ask.

katch silva 34

we are the TV shows after midnight. we are the mov ies you oo\\'nlood when no one e lse is home. genera ll y speaking, pt.'Ople call us fantasies. whe r. we lurn our fd ec 10 th e wall and say no, people call us prude. when .... e tu m our face to the .... ~ II and say no, people call us virgi nil!' when .... e lum our face 10 the wall and Sol Y no, people call us pLlrc and white al,d lilies, cry ing ikonas, Oowi ng ikonlls, which move, and blink,llnd drive you craTY. .... hen ....路e tur,.. our face to the \\'a ll and say no, people call us ingrates.






aysha e1 shamay1eh '>Orne nighl~ yo u are high under rJitway bridges. allowing I~ cily\ ~Iccp l ess eye to flaunt and form life into something ii's not. try to sec the sick beauty of it orthink of it <ISGod's I'>ay o f showing someone as messed up as you that things could 'ye been worse because fran kl y, you cou ld'ye been a strdigh! gi rl v.ho fell in lo\'e ..... ith a girl w ho's straight.

yesterda y, you ",cn.: a teenaged gi rl who fell in lo\c with a t\-'enaged boy who had live fingers on one hand, smelli ng oryour inner thighs, and her in ner Ihiglls on 2 fi ngers o r lhe other hand he had behind his back no Iru lh or dare right here the game is more ' ike ... lurn a blind eye or play the hand you are dealt.

짜I'oman, you arc always crooked na::ks like killed cigarette buds smoked in Ihc noss of norcsccrlt streetl ights

streetl igh t bulbs danillinil from the ru, t of brown ,Ieel rods looking like a SO year o ld sing le mother's bare brca sl ~ \<ohi le she's bent on.l ll fours by the man who came around] decades later to apo logize for wa lking out 3 decades ago. shc's I,,:en shaki ng, waiting 10 lell him "ye tx.'C11 wilitillg for you but to hell with wide spread arms. let's go back to what U5 brown womCIl have beellta ugh t whdt hetter \<oa y to beg a Iollg-Iost lo\'e to come home thall with wide open thighs Decause maybe. just maybe this ti me, he has grown majestic enough to see the roya lt y


in you r sweat.drops, laking partners and gliding do .... n the ballroom floor of you r collartxmc. or nol. you can keep t r~ck of mistakcs lIke pcbbh: slone p;lths or just rod: it oul and blazc in it fluttcr in Ihe flames of your own crem~lion if you wan l lil.e you' re your fdther\ di s.l ppoinlmenl for being a girl !;() you 110 on like a basta rd Slln go unclaimed bu rn ing a spot in the night sky 10 lay you rc )tistence in lx.'Cduse some days you might be \<ool1h looking up to sometimes. you can hold my hand in public and descen d from gra ce blaze knowlIlg you'll be rernembered da y ugly and self destructive as e~er Ixcause everyone knows ~ I', oman 's conflict-resolution skills ne~cr ~mo unlcd to anything morc than bulimic ha lfswa llowed fingers or a blood drop, committ ing ~u icide, between the tip ofa wrist .md the palm o f a sink but some good com(..'lo out of everything because at Icast ... now you know whdt it me.lns 10 dra in yourself out ycstcrd .. y, you were disa ppointment today... you've never left still stand ing under a fililway bridge, a dy ing joint wilh no .... rists bet ....een your fi ngers the on ly kind safe in your hand kill it. or are you too much 01 a cowa rd to cui II .. Ioose? no .... I cut it loose wi th her, yesterday I was told thin gs could"'e been ..... orse but today, I'm pretty sure I' m a ~t r.. ight girl who fel l in lo vc .... ilh a girl .... ho's straighl I ask for no appro~al

even though I might ..... onder ,r she' li cross me out tw ice like my doub le X genes wou ld. we both know some days ,jre hard bu t arc ..... orth being human for like today ... she never left standing under a railway bridge. and life is in SWCJlpJnts ,hc路s <I full-blown moon no make-up on and ... ~he looks darnn gorg<:Qus toniHhl.


alex goree 38


letter to a mother kiri white ~ dedicated to nancy stedleld. who shows me what it means to embody resilience. grace. and beauty.

D earest "Iancy, In her short story ti tl ed "Giving Birth." Margaret Atwood W'rite ~ about motherhood as the deat h and rebirth of a woman. Once the main character Jeanine has her baby, " she ceases to be what she was, and is repldCed, gradual ly, by someone else."1 Ever since we were little, Nanc y, we have been told how transformative the experience of motherhood is for a v..oman. t\ow you are merely one month away from this rebirth yourself. Yet. in many ways. you halle alreildy been a mother fOf eight months. You have sacrificed ti me and energy for your tiny son, creating the best home you can for him I<,'ithin your body. Nei ther of us .... ould have eller anticipated being where I<, e are right now, not cllen nine mont h ~ ago. I am frt.'<!uen tly remind(:d of the hours we have sperlt together laugh ing and talking abou t how life rleller seems to go as plan ned, hoped or e'(pected. But It is in tht.~e momenb when we li nd oUf"ÂŤ!llIes suspended in the un knol<, n and unfami liar, that the commonality and beauty of ou r life is rea lized. And t hi~ is whal I write to you about, this iden ti ty as a mother that you hdlle begun, and wi ll continue to share with mi llions of other women. As yOU read thisle"e r. yo u wi ll undollbtcdly a~ k when your be~t friend, who i ~ childbs dnd in college, bcCdfllC all expert Orl motherhood. My answer is that I hallen't. What I wri te to you is merely a re flecti on 0 11 experiences and reali li e~ that I have not ye t, and mi ght not eve r, come to fdec. My words arc inspired by the lilies of other women and the hers tory of mol hers and motherhood in t h i ~ nation. I hope to give you both adll ice and reassurdncc. Ne"t time you are wa lki"s to Union Square. stop at a comer newsstand and leaf through P,"'Ople or US maglilinc. Pictures depict celebrity moms taking their kids on walks, buyi ng them ice cream and playing hide-and-go seek. They are quoted as saying their children "complete the ir Ii . . es" and "s leep through the nigh t like angcis." They seem to Juggle perfectl y their responSibil ities as a mother. wlte. actress, and US Ambassador. while ma intaining their toned bodies and flawless hair. We are told they are ~ju st like us !" while in real ity we ~re separlltcd by millions of dollars, seven nannies. personal trainers and chefs. These migh t seem like unnecessary rem inders and ine~jtable fdcts, but too o llerl womerl harbor the bcliefthat their struggles make Ihem b:ld mothe rs. OtJr society consistently presents us with only one model of motherhood, where mothe rs are presented with an impoSSible ult imatum: be a super-human, or be condemned as iniidcquate.


In the ea rly 20th century the U.S. Children 's Bureau published and mai led ma nuals across the nat ion that painstak ingly detai led the "official" des and don ' ts of infant care. Many mothe rs wrote back to the bureau, e"pres~ ing thei r conccrn that they were not able to provide such intensive care for thel f c hild. They had to manage the farm, they h~d live other children to atlend to, the ir hu>bands squandered all the fdmil y income. These womerl ofterlasked if thei r baby would still tum ou t "okay." Today, mothers are bombarded wi lh nol one, bu t hundreds o f chih.l-cotre books, daimirlg thc best method for ra is ing a heal thy child, raising a brilliant chi ld, making your chi ld ca t his vegetables, and getting your baby to :llw:lys decr throua.::h thc niKht. Please don't let any book, manual or guide ~ ll ow you to sec you r child as a science experimenllhat works best when yOU "ju~t fo llow these three steps." Nancy, there b no onc perfect way to ra ise a ch ild, just as there is no one perfecl way of beirlg a mother. As a mother an d a student in Ncw York City, you wil l be ma king decisions th at are differen t frolll middle-aged mot hers lilling in tfle suburbs of (onrlecticul. I know tha t you have been thinking about your life neKt semester. contempldling going to school part-ti me and staying at home with your son for a while. Thc choices that mothers, ami women irl general, must make are nellef casy. Many peop te w'lli not hesitate to let you know if they think you have made the wrong orle. I ((.:commend reading Arln CritlCrldcn's book, The Price of Mothcrhoo(J.l Aller putting down the book, yOU might be tempted to fdll into despilir, despise men, and to calcula te your monetary \'alue is as a mother. I n~teild, sil back, digest, ~nd reflect Of! all that you halle redd. Accept you r new Stiltus dS an enlightened, and thu s empowered mother. tfyou choose to slay at home, you .... ill he faced with disapproval from men, women. and e\en other mothers. Somehow in th is nation, it stay-at-home mother is secn a ~ "unemployed," nOI ellen as an "unpdid laborer:' Howe\'er, Nancy. remember that as a mother you ~n: not powerless. \.Iothers ha\e joined together throughout history in prott.'sl, in anger. and in love. Since the early 20th century, midd lc class women and mothers ha~c championed the CJuses of child welfare, social reform, and education for both children and mothers. Tht.'SC I<,'omcn eslilblisl1ed the PTA's and parent support groups that arc so rou ti nely maintained in ou r nat ion's schools today. "Women Strike for Peace" took place in Wdsl1ington, D.C., 1961. bringi ng togethcr mothers from al l over the na tion who were cOllcerned abollt the rllJCledr arms race and the effect tha t it I<,ould hJIIC on the futu re of the nd lion, and the quality of tl1eir children's l i~t.'S. From those lilli ng in tile grou p's "headquarters" in D.C. to those conducting livi ng-room meetings in New York. eac h woman gdined a voice. I know that thcse women seem far more rellolutionary tfllln your everyday mother. Yet to the ir children, these women were riot re~olut ionaries: they were s imply Mom. I have two pieces of ad~icc for you to take away from these ~tor ie s. Fir!.t. realize that in your son\ eyes, yOU are a figu re oflhe greatest significance. You are so big and so fu ll of meani ng to him. Do not forget this when you Decomc fed-up and exhausted, or whcn )'ou arc completely arid utterly confused and neller want to hea r the words "mother" and ~Iabor of 101le" mentiorn.:d in the Silme senterlcc e\cr again. Wh ile you are not powe rlt.-ss, you wi ll inellitably have hours, day s, and weeks when you fed as if you are. While your e~pcricnce dltd your ~trugg tcs will never perfectly mirror those of ;lOother woman, ledrn from the mothers who ha\'e comc before you and who eKist alongside yOU, and be encouraged and strengthened. t lere I come 10 my second poin t. When mothe rs create a support system of othcr mothe~ they are remmded, comforted, and strengthened by the fact that they are not alone. I recommcnd rellding the story about the mother support group in The Mother Kno~ by Ja ne Lazzare; she I<, rites about d group of mothers who find o~erwhelm i ng release and comfort w hen they decide to meet together.) With other .... omen, mothers


are given a challCe to e~press their conccms, their thoughts. and Just to simply share Iheir lives .. s mothe~. II is quite sad and astonishing now deep the stigma against teenage, and single mothers ru n." within this nation. Instead of offering them adequate s upport, Ihey have too often Deen shulllled. disregarded and crimina lized. Do nollet a faulty system and society derine the type of mother that you are. Both history lind the present give us definition<. of motherhood. and what it means to be a mother has never stopped changing. There was a time when mothers were ~n as the saving graces OC\.-dcd to red(:em cI na lion. There was a time when .... omen looked to their mothe .... and nther "'OO1!'n for IIdvice about how to r"ise children, not books. There ..... as a time when women gave birth in the arms of midwi .... es and fel low mothe rs, not splayed out on ope~ting tables in front of strangers. Throughout your life, there will be people who will not tdke the time to see the beauty, strength and res ilience that I sec in you, Nancy. Some might o. . erlook you ...." a woma n who once made an unfortunate life<hanging decision .....路i th repercussions tkallhey could not ha\e even fathomed at you r age. While it is true that your choice to tx..'Come a mother will eka n1,'C you and the r~t of you r life in ways Ih.. t neither of us could imagine, do not let anyone ever belittle th ... t choice. I am so e~cited to see ..... hatlife has in store for you, and 10 support you Ihrough it a ll.

mary housekeeper in woodland cemetery

Your best friend, Kiri White

(E ~ dnoles)

1 Margaret "' ... 00<1, '"eivln!! Uirth,- in Mother Reader (Nt ... Yo<k: Sc~Cf1 Storlcs. 2001), 323. 2 Anne Crittenden, T~ Price of Motherhood ('lew York: \1acmitt ian, 2002). 3 J~nc Luar芦:, " Mother Knot," in Mother R",aokr ( 'lew York: Sc~1:I1 Stories, 2001).

collin schenk 42


from the series iaHlJ

olivia coffey


monsters "'~f, (based on "the girl" by shaIOo olds)

rachel fielding It . . .

as iI game he said. A game thai all six tccn -ycar-old boys played With their fiv e-ye.lf-<lld co usins. A game that N(.."Cdcd locked doors Needed to be a secret from everyone else. '1eedcd panties pus hed aside, Pink and purple nOl'ocn.:d p;!rty dres ~ raised up,

Pants unLipJ>Od and lowered, small hands Eager to please, 10 play this special game wilh her Hero. The foilmc hero .... ho scared away the shadows at night

With hugs. slori c;o;, and laughter. Her hands graspi ng, sq ueezing. stroking, Wh ile his fingers poked. probed, pinched, Stretching ker small channel, l ike an ovcrituffed btood <;a usage, Tea ring, unti l innoce nt blood dripped Onto the party dress, creating crimson nca lt s, \1i lling with tears and hoi pea rl y white fluid . A furry chocolate brown teddy bea r wa tched, Una ble to offer com fort, black-buttoncd eyes turned IXmonic and mocki ng in the fading light And th e girl real ized thaI Mon~ tcrs arc not always found under th e bcd.


This project is an c)lplorollion my re lationship with breast cancer; projected upon me arc stained ca ncerous brea ~1 biopsies. Cherno. Double mastec tomy. R(.:'Cooslructivc surgery. II all finis.hed on ly this. year. Besides Ihe need for compression sleeves, my mother has rull y recOVCrl-d.



swatted away: the harmful situation of female education in pakistan

.J; emma buckhout ':.4 grown If'o nWI

wl~hol!f 3n

edllcation is like ,1 yOllng wom311 WI~hOf1t 3 dowry: sacially halldicapptyi, wl~h himkd options, .. "EduciJtion in PiJlcisliJn WiJS kfl to the dogs, ..


~rvez lI00dbhoy,

Qwid-e-A?3m Un;ver$dy

Studies show that cducating wome n impro\'cs a counlry's developmental standlfds. The World Ban k cites sill reasons to support edLlcalion for girls: "reducing women's fe rt ility rdtes, lowering infa nt aod child morta lity rates, lo\\ering matern~ 1 mortality rates, protecting agai nst III V/A IDS infection, increasing women's labor force participation relIcs and earnings, [and) creati ng intergenereltional edt.JC'd tion benerits.") Studies by Thomas (1990) and Schultz (1993) reinforce this ralionale by concluding that children or mothel"i wi th higher leve ls of education are beller nou rished and heellthier.' I]etler-educ.1ted women can beller care for themselves, improve their famil ies' health, and pal1icipate more in weicty, Since their ch ildren are also more li kely to be cduCelled, the upward trend conti mles. In the f.tce of these findings, the Taliban holds a problematic attitude towards women's edllcation in Pakistan's Swat Va lley. Wh ile the average lileracy rale in Pakistan is 49.9%, 2005 e~ti ma te~ place men's literacy at 63% and women'~ at 36%,' A~ the Taliban stripped power fro m the civilian govern men t in 2009, il b.1nned female educ.1tion: the bombing of ~e \lcrdl girl s' o,chools ensured that students could not return dner wi nte r vacation. According to the Social Policy and Devclopment Center in Karac hi, cduCdtional ~Ia tistics for girls arc worse in Ihe Nort hwest Fron tier Province, where S\\al is located, With an ad ul t female literacy ra te of 17%. education for girls is neilher strt.'Ssed nor val ued.' f'akista n remai ns a Pd triarch~ 1 sociely thai gives boys priority in educational opport unities. If it continues to permit Ihe Talrban's policics loward education and \\oomen, Pakistan facl'S the possibi lity of joining Afgha nistan as a f~iled state. The situation in S.... atl tlustrates how po . . erly. funda mentalism, and pooreducahon complement each other to pcrpctudte underdcveJopmenl Therefore. a change in educdtioo, particularly for women. is vital to combating the incre;lsing volatility in Pakistan and improving the quality of ddily life. InsurgeltCy in the Swat Valley Led by US forc(.'l,. the UI\ won Ihe rir,;t segment of the wa r in Afghanistan anc r September 11,2001. They ousted Ihe laliban. many of whom had crossed the porous


southern border into I'akistm, l3y 2007, increased militancy in Pakista n demonslnl ted the gro\\ ing hazard of the Ta lloon's presence there as wel l. One fema le studen t said thell the S\\at, or "paradise on e;lr1 h," bcC<lme a "heartland for Pakistln Islamic milita ncy.'" Since 2007, tnc T31ioon of Pakista n has campaigned violently in Islam's name in the S\\<lt Valley. As earl y as October ortha t yea r, Musl im Khan. aide to Ma ulana ra7lullah. said, '" he government shou ld implement Sharia in Swal ifit does not wan t righti ng:" Lt."tl by Maulana Fazlullah. the Tal iban procet.'<Icd with the ''tx:heading of opponents, the elo~u rc orOOmer shops. pol itical ass,1ssin3tions, kitlnaflfl i ng~ and the dt,'l,trLlction of homes belonging to the wCellthy" in an effort to impose this form of religio us law." I ewer than t\\O year,; Mer, the Tal iban prevailed, but the violcnce continuerJ. In f.Jet, the force of the militants grew with time. Alkr mon ths of fu ti le combat. the P;l ki ~ta n i government agre..-o to a con l ro~ ers ial truce wi th the Tatiban in FebrUdry 2009; Preside llt Zardari conceded to the rule o f Sharia in Swal, settl ing for a spott y 'cease-tire,' lie dt.'Clared the agrccmelll offieiJ I on April 13. after an o~erv. hcl mi ng vote of a pp ro~ a l from Parl iamenl.'o The government may have only been officia lly condolling what was already a reality. The BBC reportt."<Ithat by the ti me of the government's abdication, the T~ liban cont rolled the majority ofSwal's ru ral areas, as well ~ s the capita l Mingora. \1i litary cont rol ba:;a me relega ted to a limited portion of the city, I I Under Sharia, courts headed by Islamic j udge<> are the supreme authority. Constraining women to the pri\'a te sphere, conscrva!i\'c measures forbi d women to go oot in publ ic ullCO\'ercd or unacrom panied. support pLlblic flogg ing as punishment. aod discooragc educa tion for females. While the Taliban closed many coeducational schools, they ha .... c attac ked educ~tio n for gi rls wi th sign ifican t fervor. In the beginning of 2009, Mullah Shah Doran. deputy leader of the Tehrike- Taliban Pakistan (TTP), issued d directive rt."q uiring all girls to be out of schools by Ja nuary 15 . Anyone fouod in .... iolation of this decree woulrJ be subject 10 dea th. Girts cOLlld face acid-throwing and schoob coold be bombed. II Numbers vary, but by February the Taliban had closed 170 to 200 sckools. which d i sproporti on~ te l y affected girls. Estimates suggest that as many as 80,000 girls were forced to stay out ofseOOo ls in SwaLIJ As spokesman for the Talioon, Khnn stated that Fazlullah dnd his compatriots do not oppose the education of gi rls in pri nciple, but rdther beC;IUSC the "schools are being fun under a sy&tem introd uced by the Bri tish and promote obscenity and vulgarity in socie t y:' I~ The Taliban wan ts to foster a Pakistani identi ty thd t is 311ti thetica l to that of the West. After Ihe TTp.go ~e m me n t tr Llce in feb ruary,t he Tal ib<t n claimed that gi rls could return to schools as long as they complied wilh approved medsures. li ke wearing the traditional vei l. Only a frdction re turned. The majority rema ined at home in fear for their safety, or Dccause a vast number of facili ties had Ix:en deci ma ted, A~ the Taliban conli rlUc to advdnce, the Pakista ni govern ment hds remained more concemcd with threa ts al its borders-American Ll nm;:mned Illissi le strikes in the \\l'Sl, and India to the e;lst-than with Ihe TaliOOn's domestic threa t 10 \o" omcn and children. OJ The Taliban has served as an e~tra SC(;urily tuul dgdlllllil PiI~i~ta n 's pen::eivcd international threats. Pakistani military actions have succeeded on ly in displaCi ng the civilians of Swat. As of February 2009, 320,000 J>CQple became refug.::cs in the I\orth West Frontier Province, I. The New York limesrcported several hu ndred thousa nd more people preparing 10 fl ee in \1ay.11 As people are forced to leave thelf homes, the nLlmber of children foreed out of schools increases, and the cycle of poverty continues. The Pakistani government focuses on i nterniltion~ 1 s(.'Curity concerns at the ellpensc of its most vu lnerable citizens, \\ omen and children.


Tradition of Education in Paktsta n Despite low levels ofliler.}cy and matriculalion. Pakista n has ~ long, proud trad ition of education. After its founding in 1947 a~ dn independent Is lamic state. le~dcrs conVefll..-d 011 the first Pakistan Fducational Conference (Karac hi, November 27, to December I, 1947). They cslablish~'<Ithat " Ihe ed ucational syste m in I'akistan shou ld be inspin.-d by thc Is lamic ideology. emphasizing among many of its ch.mlCleristics those of uni\er;.al brotherhood. lole rance and justice."" fo cater 10 Pakislan's development as an in<icpen<icnt state. it aimed to cement a system o f education se~r.lte from Ihat of Rr itish colonial loeg;lcy. The conti nu~ focu s on educ.. tion was reflected in Artic le J 7 (} of Ihe Conslitution of Pakisla n of 1973. which sta tes, "The slale sh ~rr 'remove ill ilerclcy and provide free and compu lsory secondary eduCdlion wi lhin [the] minimum ~ sib l e pcri~. '''19 The gove rnm ent standardized educational curriculum l1a l ion~lIy, which it conltnues to do today. In contemporary law, education is a fundamen ta l righ l guara nteed by Ihe governmen t. with certain r~ponsibil ities lefllo l'akista n'S four provinces. Paki stan mandates five years of com pulsory education for ch ildren beginning at age fi ve, though the enrollment rate was 66% as of 2007 and further declincs as the Icvel increases. Only 3% of Pak islan 's age-appropriate population is enrolled in tertidry \--ducation. or I.IO ivers ity Ic"ei. /Q The n~ lioflal " I· du cation for All·' plan is emblematic of Paki st~n 's cfforts to revita lizc its educatio",,1 Syslem. Thc ten-yedr initialive, .... hich embraces education for .... omen, aims to reduce poverty ~nd im pro ve development. The August 2002 rcport Includes the goal "to reach ou t 10 Ihe disadv:mtagcd popu lation groups In rura l and UrOOfI areas wi lh emph<lsis on out of sc hoo l girls and illi terate girls and ....·omen ...1 1 Ho\>,e"er. without a mechanism for accountabili ty, such goals have been difficult to quantify. The ~bscnce of significan t r\-'Su l t~ <icmonstrates the state's inabi lity to finance or secure its own educati onal initiatives. Education for upper-d~ ss girl~ is indeed encouraged and in many cases on par ..... ilh Western educational standards.l<I Ho ..... cvcr. among poor families, economic ci rc umstances force children 10 stay at home and work rather Ihan attend school. U,\ ICEF estimates that 3.6 million Pakistani children under Ihe age o f fourteen wori:, primdrily in lIlanuallabor.~l Va rious groups Within I'akis!an send conflicting mess~ges: while some parents desperately want Iheir dauKh lers 10 be educated, oth er<; canoot see the va lue ofcducdtion when earn ing money for food is the primary objective. Contrary to the government's rhetorica l claim that ed UCdlion is a righ l of all citi7ens., Children's Global Net\\oori: diroctor Meh na z Aziz recognizes that for girls in Pakistan. education is a " luxury."l0 Culturall y, \\oomefl arc St'cond-cld~s citilefls, and go\emmental appropriations dpply to them only after they ~pply to men. Influence of Religion "R£'iJd in Ihc n.m/t.· ofYOllr Suslaincr. Who hils Cre:J/~ fIIan 0111 ofgcrm cell. ReiJd-for your SlIsldiner i~ the Most boun/lflll Onc.

Who hilS 1.1ugl!t Ilk· uscoftlJi..· pc". Taughl Man what hedfdno/ Anolt: " (Qur'ill/ 96: 1-5}" Gmernmental endorsement oflslamic curriculum has created further con trove rsy over fema le education in Pakistdn. In the Swat Valley and elsewhere. milit~n ts threaten to bomb sc hools for girls in lile name of Islam. However, Islam it~clf is


not agaiflst education. even for girb . According to N. A. Baloch, Profe<'s()f of Education at the Univel1;ity of Sindh, the fi l1;t comm<lndmenl of·'lq ra·' (Read) in the Quran holds e .... ery Muslim of every gender n;:spoflsible for learnlnlo:.~ Kilowledge is dcri .... cd from the Quriln, as given by the Prophet Mohammali, and thro ugh observation 311d study of the Creation of God. F urthermon;:, Ihe education of children "ta' li m al-atf.1I·' i ~ particularly important in Islam, contr.lry to the doctrine \-'Spoused by the T.1l iban.l' Ho .... ever.the International I n~titute of Islamic Though t state~ Ihat the gro .... lh of illiteracy has ~causcd the a\'erage Muslim to wit hdraw in to the bliss of blind failh, to lean towa rd literalism and dogmatism."21 If citi7l~n~ cannol read. they cannot refer directl y to Ihe book of their fa ilh; they must instead rely on the leachings of insular religious insti tution ~. A low literacy rate increases th e influence of n;:ligious leadel10 whose in terpretations hold oppressive implications for fcmale education. In reality, opponen ts of femille education often pose a cultura l arg ument rather Ihan a Quranic one. Des pite its relig ious rhetoric, the hase of Ihe afllumen t is a refula lion of colonial legacy and Westcrn infl uence. " We ha ve nothing against girls go ing 10 school,'· s<lid Muslim Khan. " What we are saying is that the education being given to ou r daughtel1; in these schoo ls is Weslern and not in keepi ng with the teachi ngs of Islam. H is only making us way",·ard."~ Khan' s senti ment i ll u~t rates the backla<,h again5t cotoni~ li sm, which surviv\-'S thmugh the continued Islamization of l)llkisl4lni cul ture. Khan illuminatcs the ever-prescnt struggle for the identity o f the Pakistani , tate. which was originally defin~-d in term s of Islam . International Initiati\ICS In addition to its domcstic initiatives, Pakislan has s igned on to a long list o f in ternational accords and proclamations related to eduC<\tiofl and childl'e n: The Universal Declaidtion of Human Rights, the Conventi on on Ihc Rights of the Child, the Convenlion Oil the El imination of a ll Forms of Discrimillation aga in ~t Women. dnd the Convention Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the 1,1,'011;1 Forms of Child Labour. JO Similarly, l'akistan is included in Ihe UN Millennium Developmenl GOJ ls initiative, aimed at reducing po~erty worldwide by 20 15. These agreemen ls displa y a national resolve to improve education and human righ ts. Ho .... e"er.lhey all fall within the amorphous re alm of internat ionalld\>" ....·hich is more a statement of intenl than a binding legisla tion. As with I)akistan's domestic plans of action, sustaiflablc methods of implementation are lacking. The idea lislic Millennium Developmcnt Goals, while within that realm, arc Ihe easiest to evaluale bcColUse of their cou ntry-~pecific achie .... emen t benchmarks. Assess ment of Pakislan' s progress toward the M DGs is mi"cd. In 2004 Shaukat Aziz, Ihen Prime Minister. stated. '"I have flO hesi tation in dec laring Ihat ['aklstan lO'i ll meet most of [the) Mil lenflium De\'elopment Goals and targets.··ll Fi .... e years from the 20 15 dcddline, Ihis slatcment continues to look owrl y optimistic. In 2005 the Global Monitoring Report dl'Clared th at Pakistan remained "seriously off-track in ils race to .... ards th e M DGS."ll untrary to Aliz's sta tement, the stud y conducted under his tenure reported that ach le .... ement o r Go~1 3, "Elimindll: gCllder di sparity irl primary dl1d secondary education by 2005 and in all levels of education no l~tCf Ihan 2015," ....·as unlikely.)} The fin.t part of that goal remained un satisfied foof ye ars later. With accelerating oppression of girls · education in Swat and elsc ....·hcre. the second part appears infea ~lb le as well.

2 Steps Forward, 2 Steps Back

. . . While Pakistan hdS in itiated domestiC programs and Signed on to II1lernatlonal objectivcs to improve \-'tIucation, numeric .. t rep0l1S show little im provemen t in litemcy,


education, or develO pme!lt na tionw ide, In fact, the Tdl iban's success in the Swat demonstrll tes thll t cond itions for cducation may be retrogre~si\'e. In ~dequa te govern ment cont rol a llows the Taliban illsurgency to dilmage the co unt ry's welfare. Sherry Rehme n, Informa tion Minister of Pakista n, reflected: "Non-state acto rs are challenging the wri t o f lhe govern men t in the name of Sharia, bul lslam ~s nolllilow the closure of women's M: hools. "}.i As religio n is mani pula ted to su pport a pol it ica ll y o riented insllrgellcy in Swat alld beyond, fe male ed ucation is the casualty. Restrictl.:d education harms not only the women themsel ves, who arc valued less than men, b"t the ir fami lies as we ll. Yasmeen K ha n, a moth er o r t hree, must memori"e t he prescriptions ror her c hildren's med ici ne, since she cannot rea d the label. She li ves in fear that an agreemen t for a loa ll could acciderltal ly resu ll in the loss of her daughter as rcpaymerlt. 11 As educationll l limits perpetuate the cult ure offcmale oppression, flakisUl n's na tional development wi ll remain stymied at Ihe 136'\ or possibly lower, ranki ng. fla kistll ni nlllivc Dr. B ~ l och artiClllates the ideal runc tion of educ~ti on in bellefitting Pak istan: " In order to be ab le to face the un known futu re, we mlJsl pin our faith on edlJcation .... lhc nation must n,:crcale ils Ir,ld it ional faith in th c wo rth and power of learning and know ledge and live up to the potellt ia lities of its cu ltll re and civilization."JIi His goals for his country o utline these fundamenta l principles: that ed ucation is beneficial, that il should be free to a ll , and that citizens must have a slake in it. PakisUl n must reeval uate its educalionll l system and ma ke it a Irue rriority, instead ofa political pawn between security concerns a nd cultura I funda mental ism. It must serve both men and women, or il will help ne ither. (Endnotes) Bl"tsy f' isik, ·· I'~kislan i G irts Seek £Jetter Education,"' rhe Wilshington Time.i, Mal"(:h II, 2009, http: // ...·............. ashington ... sJ2009/ma fI08/pa kista n rl s-scck-bctt cr-~'<Jl,ICat ionl7page'" 3 (accessed October 15,20(9). 2 Sa~rin~ la,' em isc, " f'a kisum's Islamic Schools Fill Void, but Fuel M ifitilncy," New York Time\, M~y II, 2009, http:// ...... w.nytim!2009f05!04I .... orldlasiaf04sc h oo l s. html(au;~~d OctOOcr 15,20(9). 3 "Girls' Ed~ cu ti on . " World Bank. http://go .... orldtJank.orgllL 41lI t3TG20{acceS>edOctober 15, 2009) 4 Ibid. 5 Ct A World Factbook, ··f'uk istiln,"' https:II ... 'W..... cia.go~lIibraf)'fpublications/thc: · ..... orld· factboook/ geoslpk,ht ml (accessed October 1S. 2009). 6 Fareeha Zafar, Achievir/g Edllc.1tioo fOr A ll: PJkist,1II( London: Co mmon ... ealth Secretilriat, 2007),40. 7 Adam B. Ell ick, "Cbs> Dism issed in Sw~t Valley," hUp:/I,'idco. nytimcs_eonVvidc0J2009f02l221 worldiasialll9483S044017/claS6·dismissc:d-in·swat·vall ey.htm l (accessed October 15, 2(09). 8 Rc uten;, "Thousa nds Flee Strife in Nort hern Pak istan," The New York TimN, October 29, 2007, http://w... ...·.nytim!2007/I 0!29/.... or ldlasiaI29f.AK1STAN . htm l.!scp=20&sq~s .... a~1020 valley&st-<;se (accessed October 15, 2009)_ 9 Omar Waraich and Andrew Buncombe, " Talil><ln Restrict Women's Educ ation in Pakista n," The Indc:p.:n&:nl. Jan Udf)' 18,2009, hllp:ff........·..... .i w(>""""H,duc:ltion-in-pakist ~n-1 4 19199. html (acc~'S~..,.J Octobl'r 15, 2(09). 10 SabritlOl Tavem ise, "Islamic la ..... No .... Official fOf a Valley in Pa ki stan." New Ymk 7i1ll/:$. Apri I 14, 2009, http://www.nyt imc:s.coml2009I04115/worldlasia/15pstan.html?scp= 12&.sq=swato/.20 vallcy&.st=c~c (acces~ ed October 15,2(09). II " PJkistan Agrees S h~ria La ...· D.:rl l," B8C NeW$, Fcbruilf)' 16,2009. ht1p:J/'prl frl..f2lhilsou lh_as ia/7891955.stm (accessed October 15,20(9). 12 ~f'akista n : Mi litants AnllOU nce Uan on Gi rl ,' Educa ti on in S... at," IHIN, UN·OCHA, January I, 2009, http://www.i rim..... w•. orgfRcjXlrt.asp ...·!RcjXlrtld=82161 (accessed October 15,2009). 13 I RIN. '· PJk i,t.m: Origins of the Violence irlthe Swat Valley. ~ G lobal, http://www.


globalsecu rity.orglmilitaryll i br~f)'/ncwsJ2009/02lm;I-Q90226-iri nO I.htm (aucsscd OctoOCr I 5. 2009). 14 Waraich and Bunoonlbe. 15 Cooper. 16 Anton ia ParJdela. "Giving Oispl<>ced Girls Access to EdllCdt i(H1 in f'akistan," UN ICEF, hUp:1I www. unicef.orgipa kistal\freat1ives_5-060.htm (accessedOctober 15, 2(09). 17 Dcxtc:r Filk ins, ··I'akiswn I'oullds Talib~n, Swe ll rng Tide of Rcr... g~-cs;· New >Orli Ti"n:s.. May 8, 2009. hUp:Jl... ww.nyt imes.oom!2009/05109f... orldla, ia/09p~tan.hl rn I?th&emc*-th (accCS!;ed October 15,2009). 18 N. A. B~I<>ch, £dw#lli<.vI 8 ..; 00 on 1!>I!lmie- VJ/,,('S": Imp'-'",ri~l!'>· .md"s (Jam,~ro· f'akista n Study Centre Uni vers ity of Sindh, 2000), 4. 19 Zafar,9. 20 Zafar, 5. 21 Ministf)' of Education, NJtiOll31 PI,HI ofAction on EdllcJlion fOr Aff(lslamabad, 2002) http:// www. unesoobkk.orglfileadmin/u<;c:r_uploadiefaif'aklstanNatI Plan. pdf, ~ i i (acct-sscd Odobl'r I 5, 2009). 22 Maria Madalena L. Carva lho- ri sc her alK! Matthias Fischer, PJAistm Under Sicgc{Lahore: Ma kutJa Jadced f're~s, 2(04), 189. 23 · ·f'~k i stan,~ UNtCE F, http://....... w.uniccf.orglpakislJnJoverv iew. hlml (accesseO October 15, 2009) 24 Pi,ik. 25 The Interna ti(H1 al In,titute of IslJ mic Thought, Isl;/lI1I7iltiOll of Knowledgc(Heardon: Internat iona l In~t itule of Islami c Thought, 1989), Ii . 26 Baloch,7. 27 Baloch,25. 28 The Internation al Institute of I s I~mic Thought, 3. 29 " I'a Mi litants Announcc Ban on Girls' Educa ti on in S... a1." 30 ZafJ r,9. 31 Ahmed Nawar Hakro and Mustilfa Ta lpur, "A Civ il Soc iety I'erspcclivc on the Millenn ium Dc\clopmcnl Goals and Ihe Poverty Reductio n Strategy f'aper: The Case of Pa ki stan." 8rruking with 811sifICS5 J$ Usual: PcrVH!JCtil'cs from CiVJ~ Society in the CommonweJlth on/he Millennium De velopment GcJI.", Commonwea Ith r oundatio n, 2005, http://www.common.. ~allhfou n da t uploadsfdocu ments/mJILpakistan.pdr, 2 (accessed October 15, 2009)_ 32 thid, 4. 33 Ibid,7. 34 Fel ix, Qa iser. "S ... at Valley: Taltba n Blow Up Fi.'c Schools, Th...,aten School Girls," ASIJNcws. WorldWide Religious Nc ... s, May 8, 2009, http://www.w,,,·rn.orgIarticic. php?idda30025&con.. 26&scc..34 (accessed Octobe r 15, 2009). 35 f'isik 36 Baloch,IO


dapper flappers are not saps

~1 . .~

the circle qame "'~"

erica klmmel parcnt~

., oh my classic claim to fame are dc;.:r;UI Mom returned to Ihe circle game " Both my Just two weeks after I pop d as a uniq ue ly mastered fea l - . me on tra uma roun s W k Brmgmg hIcr t0 Work DilY every single dily a wee 路 Your Daug B fmg . . Ie I settled into th e nursery Suckling a pla stIC nrpp "10m lOY Nanny constantly , "y Momm y Nanny" . h f1 r M ommy all II I sprawled on the k ite en 00

A fler preschool I'~ just fa a.s cC~;fofe she walked in the doo r Snoozing Defore dinner, snhorln'~rI fill ed my eyes wi lh tea rs In third-grade when the 01 er g S d fears .


h"lcNannyassuage my


She stood Idl y y W ,I . I She had enough , SIIC went pa.rt time By fifth-grad.: that "a~ It. . . n' urics of brain and spm e So much for a m;w Unit trea tmg I J d Thu rsd ay unt il three Now .... ith only T lIesday, ~ednb"kdilY" d'"< lall ndry Ihe sllperma rkel ~I"!rcc . f or fr~路 ,"~ns I en c~, , She has ttlc time u ,

and me


alexander jacobson


i am a man i--11,

russell trimmer I

body art in chinatown

am a mllll. I do not know

The wards offemin ism.

I am a while man. I do not understand The I.:mguagc ofrdellli ju~licc. I am a rich, v.hilc man. I do not speak with The


of c;ociat ju ~tice

Either. I do nol ha ve the longue to apologize. my Whiteness walks Ixsidc me, naked. and cmbarr<lssing. Ridicu le is my pedagogy, the language Ihat emerges from the tr.msgre~s io"s already made and already Committed to making. '10--

For I am a while m,m.

I am a rich, whi le mall, but I ha\'e heard you. I have heard Ihdl femini sm is Ihc strugg le for personhood,


though I do not know your

language I ho[)C that I am


person too, and so I understand you. I cannot speak your longue but

I hcar your soul.

And so I cast 300ul, wi th a lilhe M ivctc of a rich, while man, to find a la nguage with which to hear you r cry and Spcilk it.

collin schenk 54

concepts of fat ~ john bang

and sister did housework, Gender determ ines what we CMI and cannot do. This is why I have never taken my mother seriously when she claims I am too skinn y. Rather than promoti ng freedom, gender and body image ideals constrict us, especially in a Korean cultural context. I am saddened that the pressure on my sister is doubled: not only is she expected to fulfill an ideal body image, but she is also expected to tak e on the ro le of Korean fema le. I enjoy the freedom of being expectcd to join th e work force- I am ab le to choose my ro le. I have lea rned much from witnessing this inequa lity in my household; it provides ~ ..... indow through which I can pinpoint areas of inequity in Western culture- as wel l. The key to undoing our prewnce ived concepts of fat and body image lies in also undoing the cultu ral and 50cial expectations lillked to gender. Ulltangling concepts of "fat" and "gender" must be tack led s imultaneously, for ooth are conseq uences of a largcr socicw l problem: th e unwarranted assau lt on a person's cl1a rdc!cr, bdsed on their physical appearance.


put down the em pty bowl of rice, Ihe result of eating voraciously for half JrI hour. My stomach fccls as though it might burst; I have constlmcd half d dozen tylX"S of kimchl: bean-paste stcw, deep-fried pork, and rice. As I rise fro m the table to pLlt my dishes in th e sink, my mother stares at me with concern. Shc SdYS. ." wi~h you would cal morc. You arc so skin ny." I wish I cou ld eal morc to please my mother, but I am unable to because I am so full. To my mother, my sk innincss represen ts a tacit failure 10 fatten me up. In orde r to be a "proper" KoreJrl mother, one's son must be pll.lmp. Yet Iny mother expects the opposite from my sister, and therefore treats her di fferen tly. Concepts of fat, particularly those in KoreMl culture, marry th e two worlds of gender rol es and ideal body images. I unde rstand tl1at if t cat more I will gain weight and p lease my mother, but I am seldo m tem pted to foll ow that line of th inking. As a tennis player in high school, I had a f<lst metaoolism and felt I was at a hea lthy we ight. Still, my mother urged me to copiOLIS amounts of food at the dinner table. I suspected that my we ight gai n would not on ly validate her culinary skil ls, but also a ffi rm her adequacy as a homemaker. A fat son, to a Korean mother, SY lnool izes her ability to spoi l her favorite offspring; he reflects the weJlth of the f<tmily. As I was on my way ou t of the house, my mother would often say, "People will think I don't feed you well." From my siste r my mother expects the opposite: a slimmer fig ure. The word for "fat" in KOfeJn is "sa l," which can also be translated as " fl esh." In describing my sister, this secms to bc my mothcr's favorite word. Du ring onc dinner, she eycd my sister's plate, sayi ng, "Sal j il gguh ya ." IneJni ng "you' ll get fat:' Another day she commented, '路1 wish I could wkc bomc of your sister's fat and put it on you." I remember feeli ng sorf)' for my sister alld angry at the cultural expectations that surround body ilnage. It is, after a ll, not my sister' s fau lt. I view th e rroblem ab more societa l than individual. Society is tru ly to blame for creati ng a single ideal body image, wilen human beings come in di fferent shapes and sizes. Yet th e inab il ity to be "perfect" is answered with repri mands, exemplified by my mother's com ments. My mother, ra ised in a trad itiona l Korean household, has an idea ofwl1at she wants her ch ild ren to look like because this was the image dcemoo positive d .. ring her .. pbringing. S reprimands go hand in hand wit h her concept of motherhood; body image is always an undercurrent of discussion between my grandmother and my mother during their phone con ven,ation~. Although my father is mostly oblivious, the brun t of the ~ Itack occ urs with in the horne. There is a p<lrticularly strong emphasis on gender ro les in Korean culture. 'viales ~ re compelled to DecOme the breadwinners, while ..... omen, altilOugh tlley have Ihe freedom to take on a profession, are encouraged to stay at home, l.1ke care of the kids. and coo k well. This reliance on gender for thc division of laoor is renccted in subtle ways as we grow up; wl1 ile I wou ld go outside to complete my chores (water and garden our yard). my mother



quixotic t.'-11,

julia nelson

Cheryl, my chi ldhood

n~nny, allc5l",J!


She Iloored il through a gale at trae foolOOll stildiul11 in seMeh of Chris Slade, thc lincOOckcr. He had left the team seven years ago, but she, thc woman of La M~ncha, had plans.


She listed them all in a notebook that she left on my kilchcn counter in an envelope addressed to me. lief curs ive was so perfect, so elegant tha t I almost forgot s!'le was man ic.

Details ofa big church wedd ing, of a substance-free celebration, and of a Hawaiia n honeymoon with Chris, her fiancee, who didn't know ii, fitled the first few pages. She wished for Iripleb. She even named them! They'd be Breca, Keyiah. ill1d Chris, Jr. And another baby, David Obcd. He'd be born at home in the biJl htu b, and Ch ris would be there, ilolcling hcr hand. Some Ihirlgs she hoped for were simpler: 10 s leep for eig hl hours every night, to have her brother re leased from prison, 10 have her da ughters be virgins at th e ir weddings, 10 be an obediellt wife to Chris. She wrote that she was firstly married to God. I remember when ~h c told me what Christ tol d her: to lie bare on the altar of her church. She wa lked into her ch urch sta rk naked. She had a beautifu l figure, Cheryl.


melissa hershman

One day she'd be an Evangcli~t, she wrote, she' d be saving nations, and ~he'd be free from Bipolar because it is writterl in the Bible, Isaiah fifty-fo ur. She longs for the year of Jubilee. Unt il then, she wai ts, a case stud y at a local hospitl l, sc ribbling away llt something or another in her notebook.



stuck 't.1-1;t

lani feing old-link M y body lies li feless onlhe sl~b of icy steel. My limbs tallglcd in 1I w..:boftubcs and wires, A grotesque marionectc. Indifferent 10 thc ~wish of white linen "round me. A hand creeps from my collarbone Sensual, then pulled a .... ay qu ickly Someth ing ~tjck y is left.


silk making

my left breast,

The silent choreography begins.

A dance oul of time with Ihe metronome of my hC'II1bcat. The bright yellow of my iodi ne thigh The powdery blue of hi:. touch The scarlet red tha t flO .... 5 bct.... ecn them.

I swa llow milky wh iteness alld, As the cold I<lps up my bare forearm I forgel. Eyes sl ill shut, I know I am some ..... here


Another hand, warmer and rougher this lime, Finds Ihe SC;Jtn .... here my pants uStd to conceal me.

He c~p l orc~ me br\4I"lI y wi th Ilis fingertips. A dry breath escapes my c happed lips but I am too ravdg\.-d to pro\\.'St. I feci pressure between my thighs. The coarse rip or PJpef underwe,.1r He"s stuck me.

michelle moyes

I am in a cloud ofp;lh: ru mc~ dnu Jnuh.-d vu i"",~. 1\ lakes me a year 10 look To see my dark pubic hair against the tr.tnslucen l yellow of my groin The yellow oh heal ing bruise A !leW


cold enters.



two girls struggle to get their pig home

stare at lhe oolhroom lo",cls on the fl oor. They used to be one of you r biggest irrita nts. I remember the complaints evcn as yo u picked them up And hu ng them bJck on the rack, Ri ght before I smothered yo ur mouth wi th kisSt.'S. I wonder now if ou r lives arc not only mean t for love bu t for learning. Ma.,ne after this burn has d ied do", n, And I fi n ~ lIy throwaway the empty Chi nese ta ke-oul carton5 and cn lshed beer can~ Shdve my beard oI nd do my la undry, I '" ill be ab le to appreciate what you have taught me In ou r brief t ime togetncr.

Maybe ....e <Ire fish, swimming agai nst the currents Together in the same stream but tota ll y alone. And maybe what makes ou r bleJ k existence bearable. Wha t breaks up the enn ui of nme to five jobs, Are those few moments when we COll ide. F i n~ bru~hing, ~a l cs rubbing, Bodies twisting, arching O ver and under as we jtlm p ou t of the wate r. That brief momen t of flight before we fa ll back into Monotony.

So maybe, Just maybe Th is is why I wa lk over and pick the towels up off lhe floor.


jake ratner


back to her roots ~

lauren reifsnyder

I n an in terv iew, American Surrealist Dorothea Tann ing sa id, ·'Sometimes so mething happens in the middle o f your li fe that makes)"ou feel as if)"ou're j ust born, a turning point, a birthday." 1 Ta nn ing depicts a curious turn ing point in her 194 2 pai nting BJ(tMily,l a striking sclf.portrdit thdt incorpora tes an erotic subjcrt and enigmatic sy mbols v. jthin a desolate laby rinth of doors.. By manipula ti ng color and brushst roke, Ta nn ing ex plores her ident ity within a nightmarish scene. The pa inting explores an agi ng woman's psyche through contrast" in Iler anatomy, sy mbol ism of clothing and crea ture, movemen t, and rcpca l(.'<i tJoon.. In her ph ys ical, emotional, and dre,lmlike metamorphosis.lhe fema le subjed re lioqu ishe" you thful superficial ities to reconned ....,I th ndtu rc. To portray her.;c lf in 1K.'f natur.. t sta te oflJea ut)", Tanning emphasiles her yo uthful characteristics without conceal ing the usual signs of female aging. She hds come to terms wi th her anatom y. Her pcrspl"Ctive on lJeauty changes as she learns to be healed and not haunted by time. The painting's nuid movemcnt first guides th e viewer 's eye to thc lum inescent, deliedtc c url s resti ng upon the subj ect' s head. Evoking female youth and se~ ua lity, th e long ha ir enhances our IInderstJnding of thi s gendcrcd represen tation o f beauty. Resembling tendrils or roots, th e hair 's ma ss i ~e structure appears. to both nour· ish and entJn gle her. This sy mbolism suggests tha i feminine qualitics help and hinder 11 wo man 's efforts 10 be unde n.tood in a masculine v.orld. Nc~t, Ihe eye foc uses in oilihe sta rk comp lexion of the beauliful woma n' s de fined features. The re are minor s igns of aging in the du.ker colorirlg and sa ~ing around th e woman's eyes, and iJl Ihe rigidncs:. of her nose and brow. liowever, beneath her mature face is a bare, youthful c hest wilh free, na luml brca~ls. Wh ile Tann ing i n co rpora te ~ a Surrealist style in her work, there is only verisimil itude in her depicti on of her femini nity. She does not attempt to mask or embellish her se~ uahty ,It age thirty; instead, she return s to her natural bea uty. She is a ..... oman with 01 few wrink les but o ... erall a yo uthfu l frame. Ifher anatomy is a sy mbol for her life's journey, then she has been through 'lOme or thi, pa inti ng's doorways but has many left to ex plore. Tanning's t ..... o articles o f clothing and the curious creature in the comer sy mbol17e the subject' s emotion .. 1 mcta morphosis. At her ..... aist, the woman grasps ta ngled folds of an unusual skirt, and fo llo .... ing the plane of her left arm the viev. er also encount er§ a d1zzting purple thealrical jacket. As a struggling artist with li ttle money to spe nd on Ihc la lest slyles, Tan ning shopped at thrift slores to lind unique pieces for her wardrobe.} This Shakespearean jackel ....·as likely one o flhose pu rchases. Just as society's


idealized im;!ge ofa woman conIrdsts wi th her na lura l stale, the shiny purple fabr ic in the p.ainli ng contrasts with Ihe Juk, earthy-toned ski rt. As Ihe s ubject tak es off her jacket near

Ihe scril.'S of doorways, she stands in the lim inal space between culture and nalurl;'. The trol nsi tion of cloth. ing marks her movem ent away from s upcdi ci~ l i ty and cntrdncc into a more reflect ive phar.e of life. Upon a closer c)(Jlllination of Ihe ~ kirt, we ~ that Tannin g painl" Ihe tangled roots to ft'Scmbl c erotic fema le form s. Naked fi gures ""ilh curves and breasts

pull the subject down 10 Ihe floo r, away from the rufflcdjackct and back to nature. The mismatched clothing sy mboli7CS the emotional tran si tion Ihallhe female subject undergoes upon cn teri ng her thirties. The mo\'emenl in Tan ning' s composi tion then guides the's eye to the cre.1ture and through the rcC(.,,:>sion of doors; both deve lop the dream li ke qua lity of the s ubject's femi nine metamorphos is. The m y~teri ous creature, whose position b.. lances the com posi ti on, is perch.."<f on the floorboards and appears to be a lemur with wi ngs. ThejuJ(\aposition of III is fanta st ic, noctu rna l animal wi th the woman builds upon the p.l inting \ drcdmllkc qUdl lty. Like a drellm, the pa~""gc of time feeb unreal and intangible, but the signs of aging nre reminders of life's potentially upsetting tran sience. Muled colors tr,l nsport the paintinlfs l ine~ r ~ty lc aWlly from redli sm and into a surre~list dream or nightmare. The re fore, as experience and wisdom comple ment loss of yo uth , Tan ning depicts a woman's passage throug h t ime as both frigh tening and empov.ering. The halluciJlatory re petition o r doors represen ls .. 11 the compl eted, ongoing, and future paths in her life; as she exchanges th e superficia l ideal of fem in ine youth for a more natur,ll, grou nded outlook,the subjecl journeys inlo a ne ..... room o f lhollght and time. The ....·oma n looks away from th e door that she is open ing, gazing at something unknown 10 the vie ..... er. By pausi ng to rcn(."Ct on her journey, she allows on lookers to sec hcr in mCtilmorphosis, iI rebirth on a "bi rth day." The ~inting' s enigmatic, dreaml il e qua lities thus evoke a setting lha t enables emotiona l and physical metamorphosis. As the viewer's e)"e mo~ es from the lum inescent face, down to the lem ur, and back through the progression of doo rs, Tanning'" self-portrait commun ica tes the emotional experience of entering a ne .... stJge of life; the oI rtis t\ unique U l>(! of symbols, color, and repeti tion conveys the dreamlike quali ty oft his transition. By jou rneying through the painting, ..... e accom pany tnc subject's metamorphosis. Along the ....'a)". the female subject's staJldilrds for beau ty shift from you th fulness and superficia l adornmen t to vita li zi ng reconneclion ....'I th nature.


( Endnotes) 1 Michad Kimme lmJn, " Interwoven Destinies ~s Art isl und Wife," Nr:w York TI/rnOS, August 24, 1995, http: //www,nyti mes.,orn/I9951Q8124/art~i nterwo, en-desl inies-a s-art isl-aoo-" ire. htm l (aco::ess~.,j [)ccember 15, 2(09), 2 See figll re 1. Dorothea Tan ning, nirlh,iJy, 1942, oil on can,'as, Philaddph ia Museum of Art, Ph i I ~dclph iu, http://www. philam usc l (accessed DÂŤernber 15,20(9), 3 John GI~ ~sie, "Ol<icst Li d ng Surrulist Tells All," s';'lon, r cbruary 2, 2002, http://<iir. salon_corn/story/pt'Oplc/fcalu re/2002/o2I 1l!ta nning/pri nt.h tml (accessed Dcrembcr 15, 2009).

before her wood stack

collin schenk



WQuid i be "harry and sally"-ing

college ~!-1l ariella chivil

in the sheets right now?

traveling from home the b.1ggage gets heavier

"d heavier can rOil relate? i wouldn', diuc

s uggc~1

we di sc uss feelings

fee l ings are



Oh hello there

sc;.;y. and what are you'! fuckcd.

mister my-name- is

your-name-is location, location, loca ti on wal k me home because i' m

blac king

,,' ta lk me home when you're down "d

,,' i am not i1ttracled to your fa ceva lLle

your wi t precedes you don '\ speak bc<;ausc

I'm too busy convinc ing myself not to have sex with your charm your grop ing hands in the dark

like an infanllrying to size up

what skin feets like,

a test of grip no, i do not want you monsieur

mister dance party mister fr~t mister here-i-am who arc you? don" touch me

mister ' i-gct-around' , i-know-what-they-want' because if you did



play and pose ~1~t

balloon i-.1t

ayasha guerin

(anonymous) T here is an expandable OOlloon somewhere in bel,",'ccn my rib

cage and my (slouched) spine; somewhere in between Illy laryn:o. and diaphrdgm.

It is not made

We take wh~t we ~cc, and " 'C make it J sho w, We chnosc th . - and ou r process It' s not abo", "k" c cmp hd$IS wi th ou r ,mgle our I'''h' d' . Ing a pretty picture f .. . '0:> '

of lough, colorfu l rubber like those

c~eloprng her _ carefully.

carried by s mall c h ildren in sunrly parks

Min e is film-fragile, clear and



Though it seems protected by my bones, my steady voice it swel ls and s hrirlk s with,lhe tides of you r s uggestion ~rld IIIcorlsiSlenc ies



It's not about ho II d" 0 a [lrclly gi rl, It s about creating her, : ~e~~I}~sts to the camera, it' s about how ~hc adjusts

Ad" , w II's abou t captur ing cJe h tim: s~,' ~,',"bo ul hdo. we adjust 10 that. ,', I ~ !)S. a l\I;omfort It's abo , . . ~au I u .momcn ts anJtlle uncomfortable ones It" u ~aptunnglheJourney,the III the pnnts. The tlisco~ery she rna&: throu I' s about how s he IS s urpn:,ed by who she sees vulnerably. She didn't know she hat.! it i ~ h~ d~~r~7s,e, She steppoo there, c.asually, but




e I n I kllOw she g<we me that look.

Please fill me up, ma ke me feel solid My chest is tirl-d of compressi ng and expanding with your every whim.



ilsks him what she should do. I'm tlking the scientific track, he says.


I'll help

sanae lemoine In the morning, Margot r;,m hc~r Ihe

I h~1

we be in the same cldSS.


sp inning sounds, mostl y monosyllabic. and her moth er refW!'l ting. Lisa knows her d.lugh-

Ic r is "I', ~kc by fi\c forty ~.m. to !;dteh th e six fi ft y- fi ve trolin on ti me for schoo l. She prepares breakfast. alternating bet.... een f-ra nce C ulture on tile radio and her Tibetan language

tape:;. As she rinS\.'lo carrots she looks at her hands lined with wrinkles. Fitly-seven ~he think ~ and can rce lthe softne ss of her up~r arms as she grates a carrol. Lba remembers that she needs to call Philippe before eighl. He Ii .. es in Sete, a


half-hou r from \1ontpcllicr. \1argot $Ces her fa lher du ri ng the religious hol iddYs, Christ路 mas, La Toussaint. and Easler. Lisa has gone to chu rch there a few tim ~it's a meeti ng pl<tCe and I' hilippc's parenls scramble from one neighbor 10 the other. The old people congregate. Mall.'Ot wants 10 .lei and she takes act ing classes after school, part of the theatre option for the fi Jlal e'(ams. lisa prepares dinner for her in the morning; she awa kes at fi ve a.m. to cook dishes for Ihe e . . ening. She pdcks food into a I ~rge thermos with different compartments so she can divide the pasta fro m th e green beans and the carrot sa lad. At night, bclwt.'Cn rehearsa ls, Ma rgol wd lb outside 10 cal her food bf,.'C<tuse the smell is mllch $\ronger than that of ham and cheese S<lndwiches. In th e .... inter iI's so cold that her fingers arc sliff. bllt she holds th e thermos clo'\C to her fa ce and spooos the rice wilh the meat. She stands in a corner Col ti ng, and v. hen the steam rises to her c heeks Yann OO'\Cf'ves hef' as he walks oul of fii s lab cla~s 2t bi'( p.m. They look over at each other on TllU rsd,lyS when he has a lale ph ysics class. After a month of looking he p.luses beside her. My bus stops here, he says, s hifti ng a little closer to he r. Arc you hungry, she asks. I'm fine, I'll eat at home. It's late, doc~ your mother cook you dinner! No, wmetirm.'S my dad does. My mother died. Margot is silent, and then says, I ' ll bring you dinne r tomorro ..... night. Ya Jl n goes runn ing in the morning ~nd somelimes Margot wiU joi n him but in the end he tries to con ... inee her II) sta y at home. The run ning often ends with her sick. You pU<;h your<;elf too much, he SdyS. Don't you wanl me to, she asks. I don't want you to suffer, Margot, this iYl't a conte~l! I know, I thought it v.oulrJ please you if I tried. She looks away and feel s IlOlUseous. Margot's teachers at school te ll her she should study sciences; she has to choose her specialty for the baccalaureate by the end orthe yea r. Yann doesn't respond when she


she tel ls him, and I'l l ask

Yann awakes at two a.m. and wal ks to the toile t. As he pushes the door of the bathroom to wash his hands he sees the light is on, and bec;!use his eyes are half-open he doesn' l sec Lisa in Ihe bath. Lisa hears the dOOf but as she has a towel on her eyes she c.ln 'Ilell who it is and she ash, Oh, Margot? Yann says he is sorry and d id nol sec the ligh t. Lisa laughs, and Yann is surprised il t how young she looks for her age; her w"ist is sm,,11. When he is bilek in bed with Margot he wra ps himself wilh her arms. Ite touches the proportion<; of her waist. pretty one, he lells her, an d she bk'Cps.

and a man of integrity M .. rgol 's moillcr ~Iudil;路s Tib\:ldn.


Lisa is at the compu ter writing JI1ol11Cr e路mJ illo Pililippc. It's len p.m.- she's j ust retllrned from a semin2 r on O uddh i ~t philosophy and has to fini sh her paper by tomorrow. This leaching by oorrespondcnce is start ing 10 weigh on me, she wrilf.'S. She doesn'l wd lll to write dnyth ing too inlrmate and inslead she describes th e seminar. Margot can see the lighl in the bao;ement and she th inks ho.,., her mother is alone dc,.,., n there aga in. She fi nds lisa sitt rng ert.'Ct. on a flat v.oodc n c harI', typing slowly but without glancing at the keyboard. \-Ia rgot rubs her mother's shoulders and says, Your skin is so thin. Ma rgot. please.t'm Iyping, Lisa says. \1a rgol can sec her father's e路 ma il on the screen. When i'!. Dad coming. she asks. lisa doesn' t hear her and she continues to type. Listen to me! I have no inspiration, Margot cri~. she ru ns to her room, shu ts the door and it cracks. She sils on the floor aga i n~t the door. lisa knoch and pushes. Ma rgot leans forwa rd kaving enough sp;lce for her mother's thin body to enter, and Lisa ho lds out lea. This is a tea I brough t from J,lp;lll, il' lI warm you. She sits on the wooden floor with her legs folded beneath her. Ma rgot, you h" ve 10 look a ner yoursctf, you can'l ta ke carc of other people if you're nol tending to your own nced~. I'l l run hoi water for you r feel. Perhaps I shou ldn't have lei Yann sla y over alllhe:>c nigilis. II's not a sccret, Margot replie'!., but thank YOll . One da y I won ' I be here anymo re, LiSll ~ J ys. That's ridiculous. Stop saying th at. We ll. Ma rgot, it 's true. And don' t you ..... anl to see me ..... hen I h3 ... e children" Don'l be dramatic. You hd . . C you r independence. Well it appears that yoo don' t mind dy ing. Dealh is part of life. I've ~eeepted the flllid ity o ftife . I hal's IllCOns rderate 01 you. No, I don ' t wa nilo be stuck III a bed bloaling like Molher. lisa fro.,.,ns and sees Margot's body is w rigid she hasn't mo\ed. holding t!lec up of the lea.

Every second Friday morning, Ihere are two-hou r long ma th exams. Margot texis Yann the answers du ring the e~am. The phone is on silent so the te.lcher IAn't hear. She


doesn't have time to finish her e;.;am, but she thinks, at least he won't fail. She knows how embarrassed he would Dc if she seored a high mark and he got below the average. If Margot sits in the back, 10 the right of the classroom, Ihe teacher can'l see when she Iypes on her phone, placing it Dcside her thigh. This is rubbish, the math teacher tells Yalln as he hands back his e;.;am. Yann reads the fiftecn out of twenty, Ihe highest mark he has received this year, and docsn't unde rs tand unti l he sees Ihe red wri ting: Thi s is the quality o f a fi rst draft, HORRENDO US AND MESSY WR ITI r>:G! is written across the top of the sheet. He necds to pi ss but there's slill ~n hour of class left and he holds his hnnds urlder his legs. That afternoon he takes Margot to his home. He lives close to Montm~rtre, and Ihe metro ride there is a lmost forty minutes. The apartmenl is a sad place, thinks Margot, as she walks through the rooms. Yann is blowing smoke into the mirror arld she hears him open Ihe window and run waler. There are photos of his mother on the shelves, the kitchen is bulging with food, and the floor is dirty. Ilis father' s bedroom is dark and there's a large, wooden dresser in the corner with more phOlos oflhe molher. She's in a hos!,ita l gown irl one oflhem, looking through a window, and her hair is black, falling across her cheeks. There are layers of white dust Orl Ihe bed frame. What was it like to grow u!' wi thout a mother, Margot asks as Yann cle3rls the dis hes. I don' t really rememDcr her. I was only sh and s he was at Ihe hospita l lhe last two years. You have so many photos of her. It's my dad, il was hardest for him. He spent Ihe last day in Oed with her and I was sitting on the chair ne;.;t to the bed. My aunt was there and I rememDcr she kepi bringing us food. She'd made a whole chicken Ihe night before. He's never remarried. Margot observes, lookillg at the photos sitting Orl top of the TV. No, he thought he'd raise me like she wanted, so he started cooking. At the be, ginning he didn't know what to make so we wenllo the reslaurant all the time. l3ut s ince I was only six and was pretty restless, we started stayillg at home. He took a few cooking classes in the morning. But I've never seen him cook. He cooks much less now. He forgets thirlgs, the other da y he bought yogurt instead ormilk for cereal. !' II eal the yogurt, Margot says, helping Yann dry the dishes. My mum was lactose intolerant, but than k God I'm not. He smiles and takes the dishtowel from Margot's hands. Ok, enough ta lk now, let's get ready for bed. he says. It's a lmost midnigh t and the train leaves early. Margot takes a shower Jild uses Yann's oak tree scented shampoo. He's wailing for her whcn she's finished. It feel s nice to be tired ned to yOtJ, he tells her. They fall asleep with fier wet hair spread out by his nose. Vann looks at lisa as she cooks dinner, Margot is reading and annotates the margins of poems. Vann draws lines or different co lors under his Latirl homework and then he looks up at Lisa. Do you think it is bizarre for a fifteen-year old boy to have sex with a thirty,seven year old woman, Margot asks, holding the book down against the counter. No, lisa replies. Really, Yann asks. He thinks Margot will be quite elegant whcn she is thirty.


At that age I think it's fine- Lisa begins. You don't think it .... 'ould be a traumatic experience, Margot asks. No, well it depends how it ends ~nd I su ppose how it begins. Lisa pauses, and tfien speaks again. If there's no violence involved, J imagine it can be a powerful moment of maturation for the boy. But it's going to Dc a brief. I mean, it can't be an actual relationship. You can't marry. Margot says. It's more ofa stage irl a person's life. Right. Margot thinks her father is a lmost twelve years younger than her mother. He te lls Margot, She did not look forty at all when J first saw her,

Do you think your dad has girlfriends, Yann asks Margo\. I don 'I know. I found condoms in his bathroom once, when I was staying over. What kind? Durex. Ah. You should have take'l them. He feel s the pressure of Margot's body against his torso and th ig hs. Ah, hmm, he repcaN, brealhing at her neck. But the box was unopened. Docs your mother.. No, t doubt it, well you know s he sleeps right ned 10 me, and she's 100 immersed in her Buddhist classes. I think she doesn't want anything more. She ta lks to my father a lot. They e-mail all the time and she stays with him sometimes when we go to v i si t~ well we both slay at his place ill Sde. Do they share a room? God no, they hcl~en't since I was thr(."C, But ii's strange, they have tfiese long intel lectua l conversations and my mother is very discreet around him. I've never seen her so quiet, she is so--I'm not sure really, ii's as ifshe's respectful. Margot leaves Yann's apartment just after five, plann ing to be home before her mother awakes. She flattens her hair and feels her way down the dark stairway, but whcn she opens the door of the building the air is so cold and strong that her hair lifu and falls on her facc. The slc!,s down 10 the metro Me so steep tha t she touches thc frozen railing with bare fingers. Ifshe sl ips she is prepared to hold. There are two girls waiting for the metro hand ling wide suitcabes, and the sourld oflhc tF,!in bcep ing into Ihe slalion is shri lling. Margot smel ls tile sleeve of her sweater and it has the odor of cigarettes and cJndles. She houghl candles for Yann; he enjoys the fig smell and she likes the smoky after-smell. On the train sfie remembers what Yann told her last nighl, that three months Nek a friend ofa friend' s gol her foot sluck Dct ..... een the platform and Ihe tFdin, and they had to amputate her leg. The girl who was wilh her was so drunk that she fell on the sta irs running to catch the train and could not see her friend struggling to remove her foot. Yann sho ..... ed Margot a photo of the two girb. One of them is silting on a wheelchai r sm iling, the other stJllds behind her-she is laughing and you can see the prosthetic leg behind the ..... heels. Yann said that some !)COple h~ve a fetish for prosthetic Icgs. They spelld their livcs searchi ng for their one-legged soul male. He said Ile read it in a book. It was a book that had won the prize of the most emotional novel of the year, Margot can rememDcr the title rrom a Marie-Claire magazine and she remembers feeling thai she might cry, but instead asking Yann what he would do ifshe lost a limb. M~rgot ..... alks home from the train station and because it is almost 5i", in the mornirlg the a ir is \'oel and grey. She can't see, as there are few lights in her neighbor-


hood and the sun will not rise for a while. The thirt eenth is empty and when she passes the melro stop Glacicre she sce~ a group of bo ys smoking as thcy wai t for a trai n back to the subulbs. By the time she gets to the gate of the house her socks are moist. She sees her fa ther',\ car on the street and the lights are on in the kitchen. Inside, she pushes Ihe kitchen door a crack and sme ll tomato sauce. Iler mother is chopping ~egetables. Tolby Margot has theatre rehe .. rsa l unt il ten p.m. Her parents are talking, and her father's voice is so qu iet. When M .. rgot en ters thc kitc hen lisa looks at her brieOy lmd then turns back to Philippe. Don't you diHc say th .. 11 accuse you, l isa says, cutti ng p;!rs1cy. lisa, I've been trying to explain, and I think the therapy has helped me a lot. Good ! She fi nishes the pal"1>ley ~nd s l~ rts w~s h i ng turn ips. Well lllis is a good th ing. he says. Phili ppe can' t see Margot because his back faces the door and lisa hasn't said d word. At least I am healthy, brcathing, he conlinucs. Only because I fed you so well. Vou would be obese otherv.ise. What is it wi th food, yoo' rc so obsessed. l ook at \.1 argot oow. If I hadn' t been there to ghe herII's you r respons ibil ity, but you can 'I dss umc responsibili ly, can ),00, lisa says, slicing carrots. Ph ilippe is sile nt and lisa !M)U fS p..tsta in the boiling wa ter. Vou're so concerned with dying, he tells her, notici ng 001'.' the boiling stop'l for a few momenls. No . When I die my spirit will sta y in body for th ree days an d il will take fort ynine d ~ ys for th e p;!s~ .. ge o r my rebi rth to be complete. I have li me. Margot leans back from th e door and ~ti eks her head out from behind he r fd ther. Thi ~ isn't you r story, Margot. lisa says when she sees her da ughter. Upstairs Margot sits in her bed and ~hc ca lls V.. nn, asks him to come over. I-Ie's aslccpbut he SlIys he' ll head right o ... er. Halfan hou r laler the house is qu iet. Margot can't hear her mother cooking anymore 'hhen Vann opens the door of her Ix.-droom. Corne in, she says, let's d ream. Margot turns over and Yann warms his fingers on her naked back. When she awa kes Margot finds an envel o~ in Ihe kitchen with one hundred Euro~ in twenty [ uro bills. There is a note from her mother ~ d yi ng Iha t she will r.cnd more if ~ he dcH..-:.n't return SCKln. She signs ii, VOLlr mothe r. Vann s\,'ys with Margot bccau~ his father is on a business trip. l ie feeds Margot, he bathes her. Ilc s leeps with her in the nigh t ~ nd in th e morn ing he helps her wake up. She asks him wha t to wear. He says he liked the light bl ue jea ns a nd the bro'hn cashmere. They watk to the trai n sl<ltion togethcr and Ma rgot fingcrs the Cf1Velope o f money in hcr pocket. At school Margot doesn' t understand wh y her friends don't ~e the change, Can't you see, she wants to ask them. Vann waits for hcr oulside all of her classcs and guides her to the ,a feteri a:l t noon. In biology the teacher hands back e~a m s and for the first t ime Margot has a perfect grade. Twenty. she looks at the purple writing, Twenty out oftl'o路cnty, she says to herse lr. Thc teacher smiles al her. We ll done, Ma rgot, I hope you will special ize in the sc iences. We can discuss this after c lass, she says. When Margot wa lks out of her last class ~he ca n'l ~ee Vdnn. She feels a slight an:-.iely and her ha nd~ ~WC:l t. She w~ l k s across the hallway and lXluses for a few moments, before opening the door to the stairway. Yann is behi nd the door and apologizes for being laIc. He pulls a hook from her baekp~ck 10 ho ld, and she feels the panic easing. Vann t.l kes th e trai n home w ith Margot and whe n they open the door Ph ili ppe is Sl<Inding in the living room. Shc len, he asks.


I suppor.c, Ma rgo t says, and Phil ippe kisses her on tile cheeks. I tried to stay when yo u were young. I told you r mother I wanled to bring balance to your life. When YOLl have children, the responsib ility as a husb.1nd is always less important than that of a father. She asked me to leave man y ti m~. though. I was able to live with you both until you v.ere ten. even ifshe fi rst asked me to lea\e whcn you I'ocre three. Philippe Sits back on a chair lind looks at Margot. I'm concerned, he says. I'm balaoced. Margot rep lies. Out I've always fell like you d ldn't know the story. Well il'~ ..... hat happen ~. and then yOIl hi"'e 10 metl nlhtr .... nmen. No, not when you become d f~ th er. YO Ll can, Margot says qu ietl y. Why did yo u follow the diet if you were scfJ<lfllted, you d idn't have any obligati on. Vou lost seven kilos. You know you r mot her wou ld have yelled at me if I didn't. But you had no obligation. Don't thi nk about that, for now. look, I' ve brought you both d in ner from Da lloyau, it's healt hy, a vegetable tcrrine and SlIlmon. I'm star\ed! Ya nn laughs, reassured. and as Philippe euts the teH ine, Va nn sees Margot look at her fa lher with respect A week af\er her mother's disappearance Margot hears the door open at three a.m. She ~e~ Vann is still steeping beside her and she df(..-:,~s. She wal ks do ..... n the sta irs and her mother is silling in the kitchen . lisa says, One ti me I met this Col umbian man in a rc~lilur:l nt who kn ew Garcia Marquez. Hc sa id that a lthough he did nol bel ieve in his political ideas, he thought Marque]" was a good ma n and a man or integrity. Margot sits down on 3 chair and lisa sunds up. She wa lks to Margot; she holds her shou lders and thcn proceeds 10 rub her forehead. I hope you realize thaI I am not critic izi ng your father, she says. We ll, Margot replies. Whe rc wcre you, she asks. At Kalac hakra, tke Buddhist center. I stayed at a hotel nearby. The sessions sta rt ed very early and cndctllale. Oh, you didn't say. Vesterday '-"hen I was on Ihe lru in I started fa lling asleep and I felt a hand passing over my legs. Vou can't imagine how surprised and frig hlenoo I was. I opened my eyes and screamed, I hit the mdn ~ illill g nc~t to me. I Ihought he was strange when he sat down nc:-.t to me but I didn' t think he wou ld start slrok ing a woman o rmy age. This young ma n wi th a black sweater and terrible encrgy- I fe lt it but I wasn' t goi ng to move. Vou ha ve to pay atten tion to your instinct, lisa says. You slapped him, Margot asks. looking up. I wasn' t going 10 play along with his sc:-.ual games! \tta rgot doesn't say anyth ing and lisa conlinues to tap her fingers o\'er her head. She can smell her daughter's shampoo. Ha ... e you read Horges, Li ~ asks. No. What an e)<.traord ina ry man! The other da y I was l i~tcni ng on the rad io to someone reading one of his short stori es. EI Otro, il is in th e book [ I libro de Arena. His stories arc likc a magica l Chinese bo:-., and when you open it you find another and within that aile another, and so on. This story is about Borges who meels a younger Borges. Arc you going to leave, Ma rgot asks. No. If you wa tch people you' ll be able to act beller.


a mother watches her children pass in a parade

Tangled in Blackberry branches, she can '\ even see the javelins of orange red light spearing through th e leaves and thorns ... rappil1g the mouth-popping bitter fruit in sunl ight sw~ ddling . She busi ly break s bricks, ne ver raising her eyes to the attacking army,

jake ratner



share your voice! If you've created a piece of work that touches upon issues of gender or sexual tty. we wou ld be honored to showcase it in our magazine . All Penn underg rad uates ,Ire invited to submit. We publish ed itorial pieces,

poetry, academic es"<IYs, photogra phs, short stories, drawings, paintings and mo re ! Though we welcome work w ritten excl usive ly for the magazine, we do accept work that was completed fo r a class. We also accept anonymous submi ssions. The deadl ine for submitting to the Fa ll 2010 issue of Fword w ill be in midMarch 5.2010. You arc ca n submit your work by ema il by contacting the app ropriate emai ls be low:

To submit prose, contact . To submit poetry, contact, To submi t academic essays, wnlact, To submit artwork , contact You are a lso welcome to drop a hard copy of yo ur work in the Fword submi ss ion boxes, located in the Alice Paul Center on the 4th fl oor ofClaudid Cohen Hall as we ll as in the second fl oor computer room of the Kelly Writer' s Ii ouse. For updated deta ils abou t submission or for more info rmat ion, visit our website at o r co

more than a mag check out the fword online community Fin ished the magazi ne but still want more? Visit o ur website at There you can find both past issues as well as ou r active blog on curre nt issues. If yo u'd like to contribute to the wcb<;ite -- wri te a blog post, share or comment on articles yo u've found interesting, pub lish a literary piece, or showcase yo ur artwork -- contact Victor Gamez at

editorial board and body spring 2010 editor-in-chief managing editor design editor design editor academic edHor associate academic editQ[

anusbaalles tranaehardy dalilalJoclin genevievetiscber annehuang sahanarao

poetry editor associate poetry editor

naeemahphilippeaux caitlinleally

prose editor associate prose editor associate prose edHor

racheltasbjian sanaEHemoine jordanlenJdn

art edtor associate arl editor

leallallrams pallavipodapati

publicity chair publicity chair

morganprivitle tamaraoki

bIng editor victorgamez generallJody members: lindsayeierman. racheIsquire. Iizastjames. rachellielding.laurakoehler. ruaniribe. hoahoang. emilygerard. hannalllic1icker. juliagraller. ilanamillner. laraseligman. elisabeihsum

acknow ledgernents The Fword editorial boa rd wou ld like to extend a warm thanks to the Alice Paul Center and its Assoc iate Director, Shannon Lu ndeen, our faculty advisor. We are also very g rateful to the Pcnn Women's Center and director Litty Paxton, the Ke ll y Writer's House and d irector Jessica Lowenthal, the Center fo r Contempora ry Writing and d irecto r AI Filrei s, and the Student Acti vities Cou ncil fo r the ir dedica ted support over the years.

'''' AU C L PAUL


e CI ';T[ R ""



the end

F-Word Spring 2010  

Spring 2010 Issue

F-Word Spring 2010  

Spring 2010 Issue