Category: That’s Not Real!



Dentist working on a patient

His eyes are brown. Hazel, when it’s bright, when light floods the  room overlooking the park. They remind you of your father’s. He looks vaguely like him all around. Face: fleshy, honest. Skin: brown. Eyebrows, both thick and sparse at once, taking up a lot of room on his face, without actually being heavy, each hair declaring independence on its own patch of skin. Pioneers, frontiersmen. Under the eyes he has bags and you wonder what a dentist’s assistant lies awake worrying about when all he does is hold instruments of pain for someone else to inflict, isn’t his whole job to scrape coffee off your teeth. Fleshy moles. Your dad had them too, dotting his neck, and this guy shares your abomination. You get yours lasered off. Insurance doesn’t kick in a dime.

You are attracted to him. Men who remind you of your father always draw your eye. When you were a kid you tried to get a glimpse of his dick a lot, but he wasn’t really the kind to parade around naked like your mother. You saw it once, shriveled, hairy, beautiful, but there was no satisfaction in this because by then he was already sick and his eyes were yellow and he looked fuzzy and confused and he’d just forgotten to button up his striped pajama bottoms after he’d peed and there was a spot of yellow urine on his pants and this wasn’t how you’d wanted to see his dick. It had looked nothing like yours.  Continue reading



The girl’s small. Her hair is endless and black. Cascading her back. Yards of it. She comes into the stand and turns. Her head just reaches over the table. Her fingers are tiny stars. Flitting over the surface of things. Sunshine snaps at her fingernails. Breaks there. Her wrists twist away. She wants to play with everything. She moves her digits over the cloths and the tables. Her mother comes up behind her. Takes her fingers. Stops her. Whispers something. Tries to steer her away. The girl moves off towards the gold cabinet. Her eyes are dark, restless. Her fingers flit again. Her mother follows her. Tries to contain her. It doesn’t work. The girl moves again. She returns to the first place. The entrance. Her fingers flit again. This time, they discover the pearls. She picks up the bracelets and the beads. The mother comes up a third time.

“Please, that’s enough.”


The girl goes back to the pearls. There are little studs inside a shell. Green, blue, red, cream, white, silver. She twists over these now. Her fingers lifting. She drops them suddenly. Handfuls descend. Scatter. Bounce over the cloth.

“Stop,” the mother says.

This time the mother grabs the girl’s hands. She twists. Tries to release herself. The mother holds fast. Pearl studs are still rolling. I move over to them. Continue reading

if you want to be pure again, when you are ten.


Egyptian Visual Artist Ghada Amer's "Red and Colored Drips"
Egyptian Visual Artist Ghada Amer’s “Red and Colored Drips”

if you want to be pure again, when you are ten, and there is blood that sometimes runs down your thighs because your mom said that now you are a woman, there are things you need to do in a specific order and with special care because the realm of care and order is where girls go when they become women.

if you want to be pure again, when you are ten, and the blood has stopped running after a few days and you have checked and checked to make sure that there are no tell-tale droplets after the third or fourth or fifth day depending on what your body has decided to do that month, because a drop in this case you have been led to understand is enough to poison a bucket a bathtub a lake the nile the ocean the whole city of cairo and its governorates egypt the country the middle east as in the whole region israel included africa the continent the polar ice caps all of it somehow unclean. Continue reading


Sally Mann
Sally Mann

Rose had been helping Uncle Jack fix up their old Chevy when Lou announced she wanted to go exploring. A long, hot Mississippi afternoon stretched out before them and Uncle Jack said “You know what, it’s gon’ get hotter’n a whore’s tit out here soon anyway, why’nt you git along with Little Lou, Rosie.” Rose pulled up the waistband of her greasy jeans and wiped her palms on a corner of her oversized workshirt before pulling it over her head and wiping her face with it. Lou eyed Rose’s forearms; the way the muscles roped and strained under her tanned skin as if of their own accord, each one with its own intelligence. She licked her cracked lips. * Continue reading