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WHAMMY/McoZfl Mason WHEN WOULD YOU FIRST detect your breast's defection? Not from breasthood, but from the seemliness of breasts. Especially teenage breasts—ones that hadn't been trotted into view but were a little shy yet, blushing breasts, breasts that would have to be coaxed. When would you begin to note certain things about the breast, the left one? Like how it seemed unhappy, while the right one was content. Like how it strained against your bra, resentful and mulish and chafed, while the other snuggled peacefully in its cup—a curled mouse in its Kleenex nest. When would you suspect that the breast was not going to cooperate with your ideas? For how it should look? For how it should downsize, rein in its runaway nipple, look to the other one for guidance—the proper breast, the "right" breast, the breast that knew its place? When would you realize, fully and with black-hole horror, that you had a rebel breast on your hands? On your body? On your complete and entire existence? If you are anything like Leeza, you're fifteen and tempted to pretend it's all a phase. If you are like Leeza, and layers are in, you'll just button an oxford shirt over a polo shirt and forget all about it. Or perhaps you'll think in passing, as you buy your oxfords a little big, that there is still time for the runt breast to kick in, catch up, race forward and grasp the baton that the left breast is extending, and extending. If you are anything like Leeza, you'll go away for the month of August to escape the breast, but it will be a step ahead of you. You'll put your back toward Magdalen, your friend from Assembly of God, while you change into your nightgown in her grandmother's basement . At night, lying next to Magdalen on the pull-out sofa, you'll ask what is the worst thing that ever happened to her, and she'll tell you about the dinner-table fiasco, during which her stepfather leaped from his chair to order the demons out of Magdalen. She had made a smart remark about the stew. Your mother trusts Magdalen because her parents are righteous people who own goats and make yogurt from the milk. This is seen as a biblical act. Once, Magdalen let you milk the goats, and you thought you'd feel closer to God, but the animals stank and tried to bite, and you noticed one of the goafs teats was larger than the other, and feared this was a sign. 54 · The Missouri Review Magdalen always sits on the front row in the warehouse that is the Assembly of God, playing her guitar to the songs whose words are beamed on a giant screen by an overhead projector, and you sit with her. Magdalen has been slain in the Spirit and can speak in tongues, and sometimes when Pastor Pitt steps up to the microphone and says in a throbbing voice, "Now we will open ourselves to the Lord," and everyone starts keening and weeping and waving their arms, you can hear Magdalen gibbering and wish you could gibber too. But you have only been a member for a year, and you think God might not trust you yet. Magdalen has been with the church a long while. You hope to be able to gibber when you have more tenure. But if you are anything like Leeza, you are running out of time. You need to cozy up to the Lord right away. You need to take your breast to the Lord. You need to put your breast in the Lord's hands. You believe He could make a change in your life, in your breast, and at night, when Magdalen is sleeping, you put one hand on her hair, one hand on the breast, and try to open yourself to the Lord, praying, Lord, shrink this breast. SHRINK this breast. Your parents trust Magdalen, but this is foolish of them. She sits in the front row of church and plays her guitar and gibbers on cue, but it...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 54-62
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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