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SEVENTEEN REASONS (January 2010: Part 3)

Ellis Avery

21.  To forget our awkward exchange, I'll try on fake fur earmuffs.


22.  Smells like chocolate in here.  No, Ovaltine.  Peanut butter.  No.  Burnt food. 


23.  Anita O'Day's voice, bright and salty: my Nana two years gone.


24.  "Nobody writes poems about the spot between the cheek and the chin."


25.  Wind. Rain. Phlegm. Tormented trees.  It's like I've never not been sick.


26.  Sick and snotty, eating mochi I don't even want.


27.  Methotrexate makes my hair fall out.  I feel sad.


28.  Reflecting white light into our bed like sequins: falling snow.


29.  Long things beach here: concrete pylons, railroad ties, styrofoam swim noodles.


30.  I tell her I've lost hair. She tells me she's lost orchids.


31.  A lime-green glass elevator!  Close your eyes: everything turns purple.




Ellis Avery is the author of two books: THE SMOKE WEEK, a personal account of life in lower Manhattan after 9/11, and THE TEAHOUSE FIRE, a novel set in the tea ceremony world of 19th century Japan. Available in paperback from Riverhead Books, THE TEAHOUSE FIRE is being translated into six languages and has won three awards, including the American Library Association Stonewall Award for 2008. She teaches creative writing at Columbia University. 


A perfectly healthy sentence, it is true, is extremely rare. For the most part we miss the hue and fragrance of the thought; as if we could be satisfied with the dews of the morning or evening without their colors, or the heavens without their azure. - Henry David Thoreau


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