awkwardly crossed on the futon, and she’s holding her beer lightly, impermanently, as if she’s afraid my brother might want it back. Andrew’s so funny, she says to me after we are introduced, as if I had asked or said he wasn’t. She has the kind of voice that is most often disembodied: the voice of airport announcements, the pre-recorded subway stop voice, the you-have-3-unheardmessages voice. I immediately agree with her, even though my brother’s not that funny. You’re lucky to have such a funny brother, she adds. My sister does nothing but complain. Oh. Our cousin is actually funny, you know, professionally, I say He does stand-up. You should go see his show. Maybe it runs in the family. That would be so cool, says Legs #2. Her teeth are sharp but her lips are round and smooth. Where’s his show? Well, he’s living in Baltimore. I realize as I am saying it that, because Baltimore is not near here, I have given her a useless piece of information. She makes a quick sound as if to start a word, and then stops. I make a few noises softly so they can only really see my mouth move and then leave the
room, because I know they will assume and understand. The class I’m taking at the Y is printmaking, and the instructor is a young woman named Mila. She is beautiful in the way that says without saying, ‘I have always been this way, all the rivers will end at me.’ We are starting with relief printing, specifically woodblock printing. On the first day, she showed us slides of Katsushika Hokusai’s “36 Views of Mount Fuji,” which my brother has as a set of coasters. Everyone likes “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” which is the most famous one, but my favorite is “Dawn at Isawa in the Kai Province.” It’s a strange one and the composition doesn’t quite make sense. At the bottom of the picture is a village, seen from way up above, the round hats of the villagers almost cartoonish, and the thatched roofs of the houses dripping with what looks like sticky sunlight. Then above the village is a seashore, which is abruptly cut off by a dark line, It looks as though Mount Fuji is rising out of the pale orange sky. After that class, I asked Mila if I could see the slide again. She turned on the projector and let me (continued on page 28)
Steps Magazine's second Fall semester issue.