No, they’re not

“Everything I want from a mother is entrail-exhausting, rage-flooded, shocked-alive, and structured like a shriek. All I have the courage to ask for is this convenience. We wipe down the counter. We hang up towel and sponge. When I was little I understood the world to be made of paper, and that everyone should step carefully or go through the paper. I wanted a notation for that, for the going-through. I thought, I still think, this notation is stored somewhere, above us in a sort of mist or secret layer. I never realized that Verna had been carrying the ghost of Mildred at the front of her mind for fifty years, like impossible antlers. The judgments we bring to bear on one another are not very sound, are they?”

Ann Carson, “Back the Way You Went,” New Yorker, October 31, 2016


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