The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: An Excerpt from Meg Tuite’s “Breaking the Code”



An Excerpt from “Breaking the Code”

There is something about an unbroken line that makes me want to rip it apart. All horizontal and level and yet one hit of acid and I detect only ripples, bending, rigorous expansion that doesn’t speak the language of the linear.

My mother had cancer. It was floating submarines that attached themselves to her ovaries. I am sixteen with the same oval glass face that stares my mother back at me.

The gray eyes, tightened lips and blonde long hair that rats up in knots on an elongated body that mom didn’t have. She used to work away at the knots that felt like gum stuck to my scalp while I screamed until she couldn’t take it anymore. She’d finally cut them out. I grew up with empty weed patches around my head that she tried to cover over with the remaining bush. Her hands were magicians.

I’d sulk around the house and tell her I was bored. “Baby, break the code,” she’d say. And a book would appear laid out on her long fingers. One I’d never seen before that had me swimming in a vast ocean of some strange girl I wanted to know and be while my mom sipped tea across the room absorbed in her other universe as far away from me as the sky.

My mom told truths. Her lips formed words like philosophers. She spoke in large circles that moved inward like a labyrinth and I would follow the spiral as far as I could until I got lost. “Baby, listen to the voices that walk inside of you. They will always lead you to those places you don’t want to go. We always have something to say about someone else. Sew that pattern up in someone else’s housedress and move toward the sharks.”


“Break the Code” appeared in Meg Tuite’s book, Bound By Blue, available from Sententia Books. Purchase yours today!

Meg Tuite’s writing has appeared in numerous journals. She is author of two short story collections, Bound By Blue (2013) Sententia Books and Domestic Apparition (2011) San Francisco Bay Press, and three chapbooks. The latest: Her Skin is a Costume (2013) Red Bird Chapbooks. She won the Twin Antlers Collaborative Poetry award from Artistically Declined Press for her poetry collection, Bare Bulbs Swinging (2014) written with Heather Fowler and Michelle Reale and is currently working on a mixed genre collection to be published in late 2014.  She has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize and is the fiction editor of the Santa Fe Literary Review and Connotation Press. She teaches at the Santa Fe Community College and lives in Santa Fe with her husband and menagerie of pets.

Beth Couture is an assistant editor with Sundress Publication and the secretary of the board of directors of SAFTA. She is also the fiction editor of Sundress’ newest imprint, Doubleback Books. Her own work can be found in Gargoyle, Drunken Boat, Yalobusha Review, the Thirty Under Thirty anthology from Starcherone Books, Dirty, Dirty from Jaded Ibis Press, and other publications. Her first book, a novella titled Women Born with Fur, is due out in the fall from Jaded Ibis Press. She teaches at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, PA.


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