This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Solstice Black, is from The Damage Done by Susana H. Case, released by Broadstone Books in 2022.
Content warning for domestic violence/abuse and disordered eating
Blame the walls and doors—they entice the husband to punch them— five stitches on his right wrist just last summer. Inanimate objects only—he says he is a man of peace. His familiar rage—it doesn’t cease with three days in a row of humid heat, ninety degrees, and how come Janey wasn’t in her room in Taos after the shoot? Like an asymptote, she’s gotten so close to perfection, can taste how close, like she tastes the black coffee, water, sugarless gum, all she’s had for days, so tired of being shown off like an expensive watch. Her precision surgery on her food— he critiques her microscopic cutting. And how did her ass blow up overnight? The mirror is relentless, the water—she drinks too much of it, needs to do more calisthenics, the weight on the scale’s unchanging. The food she pretends to eat—sometimes she has to put a small bit in her mouth, exercise the gain away, or purge, but anything is better than throwing up again. The rules for when he can look at her—only when dressed or when the lights are out—darkness and cover. Her ribs— where downy, pale white fur has begun to grow, though she is freezing all the time. The room of ecru walls—the color picked from over thirty variations of beige— for weeks, samples were shuffled and placed on their bed while she tried to decide. His only comment: that nothing was getting laid on their bed lately except the paint swatches. Blame the husband— he likes them thin and young.
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