Praise, Title Page, Copyright, Acknowledgments, Dedication

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pp. i-viii

Contents

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pp. ix-x

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On Three

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pp. 1-5

After his promotion, he had the 3,128 square-foot house built to his specifications for his family. Four years later and one daughter’s in Houston for college, and the other one’s in Georgetown for college...

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Mother Tongue

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pp. 6-22

Lexical slinks off the tongue, its sound a little creek-like, its letters slipping over the pebbles of taste buds, the liquidy linguistics that tinkle past lips.
Gustatory fills the mouth’s cavern, its weight weighing down the tongue, its full, cumbersome...

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Trigger Happy

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pp. 23-33

Lacy Johnson was held prisoner in a soundproofed room in a basement apartment that her ex-boyfriend rented and outfitted for the sole purpose of raping and killing her. She escaped, but not unscathed. The Other Side is the haunting account of a first passionate...

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A Striking Resemblance

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pp. 34-49

But I was talking about lightning. There. Between us. Magnetic flux. The density of our different desires tethering us together. I am pulled towards him. My compass, oriented. We lie in his field of attraction. I travel and re-travel to him...

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I Could Title This Wavering

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pp. 50-60

Sidestepping the use of affect and effect, I evade discomposure that would surely come from showcasing what I don’t know but should. Regardless of my higher education in English, as well as my even higher education in creative writing, I...

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Circadian

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pp. 61-77

Worn tracks in the carpet that cannot be vacuumed away. The path of pacing. A trail that traces the proof of pain’s presence. Persistence.
Think strapped down, chained up, locked away—think powerless. Enslaved by the need to pace. Trapped...

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When She Flew Away

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pp. 78-91

She climbed the stairs. She found her ledge, that hiding spot. That safety. She sat down not knowing what to do next, but preparing for something. Considering. Brain space tangled up in the logic of if she should do this. She was no longer safe...

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Body of Work

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pp. 92-97

We learned this in school. Were force-fed the essay’s acceptable appearance, all our thoughts squeezed into five paragraphs. If/ then statement. If we write within the standardized confines, then we prohibit explorations of an essay’s true beauty. We’re...

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Outline for Change

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pp. 98-126

The dad-blur smeared down the hallway in a hasty desperation to go somewhere specific. I sat on the couch, five years shy of being able to buy my own booze, and glanced up as the rushed image of an alcoholic father tried to look cool...

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Twenty-Six Junctures of How I Am a Part of You

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pp. 127-142

Cupped in my hands, sipping on some wakeup warmth, I hold the maroon mug my mother gave me on a day when I didn’t want to be me. The feeling I felt a few years ago, every day. Any day. Just yesterday. This moment was nothing new...

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Lying in the Lyric

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pp. 143-150

I know I can make this all poetic and shit, can find some metaphor to wrap this essay up in, like I’m giving you some present with pretty pauses and illuminating illusions. Or, hell, I can wallow in the sorrow of the story that I’m not quite sure...

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Re: Collection

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pp. 151-162

It’s time. Time to take a wet paper towel to the top of my bookcase. The bookcase that has been sitting here, undusted, for seven months. I’ve avoided this chore simply because I find it annoying. Having to move all the picture frames, all...

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In Gratitude

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pp. 163-166

Being a book about rhythms and cycles and whatnot, it’s only fitting that I started this collection during my first year in the fantastic Rainier Writing Workshop MFA program, and completed the final essay during my last residency. Most of these essays were...