formed to make decisions but I remember my destruction
well. I masturbated to the livejournal community _nakedparts,
a blog made of livejournal users who showed off various
quality photos of their naked bodies. There was a beautiful
woman naked and splayed against a tree, her butt in full
bloom. Spiky blurs of genitals. It could never be fully
satisfying, which was the greatest arousal of all. I read comments
and the tiny wars winnowed in the flesh grids. A man
commented on a woman’s vag shot, Shave. Another man
condemned the comment, because her full growth was hers.
I was 14, believed feminism to be an older, won battle
despite my body’s multiple invasions and the natural silence
expected. The silence was a tautology and I needed its shape.
Everyone loved a winner and to speak was to lose. So I touched
my naked parts to the safety of a flat screen. I fantasized
posting, amazing the community with my firm figure.
I learned I was desirable when a stranger at the mall threw me
over his shoulders and ran with me screaming to his sedan.
My friends stopped him. Everyone laughed. I was 13
and knew to cry meant I was a prude. I swallowed terror.
I knew I was desirable when Ryan, 21, kept grabbing my butt
in the food court. Everyone laughed. When he found out
where I lived. Got me into the car and led me away.
I show my students Mary Ruefle’s essay, “I Remember, I Remember,”
and she has written “I remember saving everything” after
saying she never did like to save things. Last night I dream
my apartment suffers an electric fire, the second fire of my life.
My landlord screams that I’ve ruined her beautiful house
and she is right. I mastered cateyes. In HS, wrote Chuck Palahniuk
fanfic. My best friend returned from college and said L
drugged and raped him. He slid his hand up my knee, in a gesture
I’ve never allowed myself to understand. My other best friend
fought three women at the mall, ripped out a hoop earring
and kept it on her nightstand with her bracelets. I learned
I was desirable when I used textbooks to cover my butt
in the halls. When S taught me skinniness required a finger
and vigilance. A student comments on Bhanu Kapil’s “Text
to Complete a Text” that she is having difficulty articulating
its genre. Risk is a kind of twin of permission, says Bhanu.
I woke up this morning stunned by the confidence we have
in our houses. There is a belief about houses that is in line
with our capacity to live, that they are upright, secure, impenetrable.