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by Chanel Dubofsky

My mother saw the Devil everywhere, even in my dance teacher, with his black leotards and chest hair like bean sprouts. "You're flamingos," he'd say in class when we balanced on one foot; when we lept into the air, "Now you're panthers!" I pictured him in a dark robe, what the people wore in my dreams at night when they cut into bodies with long silver knives. In that robe, he couldn't dance or move. In the morning, the dance studio smelled of rubber and sweat and sun, our feet thumping the floor like giant beating hearts.

Author's Note

For me, writing is often like cracking open an egg-the sound of it coming together might be actually audible. Some of the images in this piece have been with me for years, but the layering of them all together reveals something to me about what writing can sometimes be a surprise to everyone, even the writer at times. The instincts of knowing what images to keep, to use, and how to use them seem similar to me to the instincts we hone in childhood—if we’re lucky enough to be allowed to trust our instincts. In this piece, I hoped to illumine that confusion that comes with fear, manipulation, and how much we can truly know.

Chanel Dubofsky's fiction has been published in Monkey Bicycle, Pure Slush, Quick Fiction, Atticus Review, and is forthcoming in HamLit, Euonia Review and Blue Five Notebook. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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