Stephanie Anderson: Assay 10

Fall '13 TOC


R has such a strong sense of scale with birds, distant birds in flight. She finds it difficult to understand: she likes tangible scale. Packing the car; arranging the freezer; breaking the lines.

Distance, though, she finds troubling. That was only a mile?

Distant scale equals time. Six hours to the border. Ten minutes to Johnsonburg. Three and a half days to Grandma's house.

Cardinal directions are also opaque to her. R says, I should go south? Turn right. The right middle finger has the callus from holding pencils, then pens. Much to her father's dismay, she never stopped ticking addition on her fingers.

The body a measure of certainty. Four and a half toes. She can't run that distance; her body won't do that. Let me pick that up with my toes.

She likes activities that suspend the body, or differently suspend it. To get into a different state. The girl launches the waves. Won't you go skydiving? The first roller coaster; that mixture of terror and elation.

The vulture is beautiful from a distance.

When the neighbor boy dumped her bike in the ditch next to the driveway, what irked was the indignity, the sense of violation. On their property. So near, so blatant.

Williamstown had child-sized spaces. The tiny door in her closet leading to a crawlspace. The clearing behind the treeline where you could find bruise-purple grapes. The wild place behind a best friend's house. The boxes for her best friend's rat. The wooden playground they helped build; its palatial passageways and compartments. The body's size. Like it's all a matter of will.

Ticonderoga was a vastness. Where was the property line. The edge of the yard lined with puff mushrooms and mint. Lying awake, the high pitch of vast space. The tape has run out. You start to elaborate the story again in your head. First, your crush throws pebbles at the window.

Where do other kids go at night.



Not Enough Night
Not Enough Night
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