I am Silver and Exact

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I am silver and exact. You cannot see through me or into me or over me because I am not here but in so much as you want me to be here, and so I am you, reflected. A man once told me I was beautiful. I thought he meant he was beautiful for having me. I bent over him as he lay on a wood floor with his pants around his knees. He put his hand through my hair draped down into my face and said, There you are. You look like your picture now. I can see you. So I waved my hair like feathers or rain or a rippling chandelier with a thousand tiny blond mirrors. Then I kissed him. And stroked him. I said mean things. I refused him, left him naked on his floor with his pants around his knees as if this might be the lesson, the one thing he needed. Now, he would understand. And when I stood and tidied the mess I'd become, he lay on his floor, watching me complete myself. When he rose from the wood, he was a slow gallant rising from a place I'd never been or could ever know to be and he recognized. He could see my lost girl on the trail look, my road weariness. He pulled pants to waist then took my hand and pushed back my hair. He said, It doesn't have to be like this.

I puckered for him. I gave him a long lash eye. I left that man standing on his hardwood. Well, at least I left him while his pants were on.



RAE BRYANT's short story collection, The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals, released from Patasola Press, NY, in June 2011 and has been nominated for the Pen Hemingway and Pushcart awards. Ben Loory says: "Reading Rae Bryant can be a harrowing experience… like drowning in a lake of silver lights." Frederick Barthelme says: "Rae Bryant's stories yank at you over and over… Is it necessary? Absolutely." Her stories have appeared in BLIP Magazine (formerly Mississippi Review), Gargoyle Magazine, Opium Magazine, and PANK, among other publications. She has work forthcoming in StoryQuarterly, Ampersand Review, and other publications and writes essays and reviews for such places as Puerto del Sol, The Nervous Breakdown, Portland Book Review, and Beatrice.com. Rae has received Fellowships from the VCCA and Johns Hopkins University, where she earned a Masters in Writing and the Outstanding Graduate Award. In summer 2011, she attended the Sewanee Writers' Conference, where she studied with Alice McDermott, and the JHU Conference on Craft in Florence, Italy as a JHU Fellow, where she studied with and assisted Jill McCorkle. She teaches multimedia and creative writing in The Johns Hopkins University, Master of Arts in Writing program and is editor in chief of the program's new literary and arts journal, The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review.

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