The Slow-Cooked Sentence

My style and my mind alike to roaming*

Rachael Conlin Levy

The sun blushed. Her lover kissed ear, cheek, jawbone and eye, whispering goodbye to each part of her as flamingo feathers delicately settled on the blue belly of the morning sky.


My youngest son attacks art. Fingers chase a scribble across paper, crying out for help before crashing into another line. When he paints, hands splat and fart globs of color. “Get ’em, get ’em! Aaah!” he yells as he forces red and blue into a violent shade of purple. But I don’t worry that he peppers his day with destruction, that he prefers the punch to the hug, that he insists city buses be equipped with guns, because he is the same boy whose color choice is pink, be it nail polish, cupcake or crayon.


In the photograph, a girl in a pink dress sits on the edge of a chair at the end of a driveway. Her feet are crossed and dangle in the air, her shoulders are up around her ears and she’s smiling. If you squint, you can spot the shadow left from a lost tooth. Next to her is a jug, hanging from her side is a coin purse, and propped up with rocks at her feet is a painted sign that reads:

25 $


It is a hot day. The shadows look dark, cool, but she sits in sun that bleaches the sign to near whiteness and melts the ice in the jug. There are similarities between my 12-year-old daughter and the small girl who inhabits that photograph, but they blur as I forget who she was and she searches for who she will become.

Pink is the color of painted nails, girls, early morning, cold fingers, the excitable penis. Wrap your hands around this and you’ll get warm, the lover suggested. Oh yeah? What do you take me for, a novice? she replied. Pink is love, a carnation, the cheeks of a corpulent, satisfied man. Later, she searched in her closet and found the sunrise hanging between a fleece jacket and a little black dress with dusty shoulders, so she wrapped it around her neck, climbed the bus and went out into the day.


“I am not the woman whose voice animates my essays. She’s made up.”  Nancy Mairs, “Carnal Acts”


* Title courtesy of Michel de Montaigne, father of the essay.

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