Category: Essai

A Flash Essay by Traci Cox

    Smudge. I hate that word.             Smudge. Do you say it in two syllables, or three? [My Arkansas friend says it in three.

Milk Teeth

We were as tall as the Hollyhocks were the year you had to leave me. When fairies could still be seen sleeping in the perfume

Baba Yaga in the Classroom

When I was a girl, I came late and without my assignment to the classroom Joane Katsiff kept in woodsy Pennsylvania. Back then, I was scared to open my mouth in case sounds might come out. I couldn’t seem to say or do anything normal. Strange longings and excitements beat in my chest, and I stayed up all night walking in the dark, and putting my fingers into candle flames. I ate my lunch alone in a bathroom stall. I didn’t know what kind of disease I had, only that it was one of isolation.

Portrait of a Pre-Existing Condition

It’s easier to not be embarrassed by a body if you don’t consider it your own. In the hospital, my body became a body of work. I felt no shame about being undressed, because nothing was projected onto me. My body was a scientific body. A body of fact. It was unrelated to me.

Planting Manuka In The Rain

I planted dozens of manuka (where that expensive honey comes from), kanuka, harakeke (flax) among other species as it rained ensuring I became a sufficiently muddy eco warrior woman that apparently pampers each tree too much. The earth is heavy and as I plant manuka in the rain I think about how it’s simple acts that have profound effects. This simple repetitive act is the slow regeneration of what has been lost through one of the world’s most pressing issues: deforestation.

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