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Jenny Yang Cropp

Issue One: June 1, 2018

About the Author

THE GIRL wonders: If the emotional equivalent of tornadic wind is a particular kind of fury, under what conditions will a girl become a supercell?[1] At what speed will a poison heart unhanded lodge in someone’s chest like straw in a telephone pole?

______________ [1] On her second birthday, 59 tornadoes ranging from F0 to F4 struck multiple counties north and south of the Red River Valley. Fifty-eight people died, three in her hometown. They call it Terrible Tuesday. Every year after that, her grandfather would say, “It’s THE GIRL’s birthday. Time to head for the storm cellar.” And everyone would laugh, even THE GIRL, though really she hated that joke.


About the Author THE GIRL loves kimchi. She will eat it and then say, Sorry I smell like kimchi, but she’s lying. She doesn’t care if you wrinkle your nose. She doesn’t care if you think it is rotten or gross or too strong, too hot, too sour, too much for your taste. She doesn’t care if you are her father, and she is eight or nine years old, and you are greeting her with your disgust and sending her off to the bathroom to scrub it from her mouth and skin because she stinks of it, because she has just come back from her mother’s house and so she smells too much like her mother’s house or maybe too much like her mother. There are many things she will try to scrub from her skin, but not this. It’s pointless anyway. It comes from the inside. It seeps right out of the pores.


About the Author THE GIRL watches an episode of Jem and the Holograms[2] where Jerrica refuses to say goodbye to her mother, Jacqui, who is about to board a plane. Jerrica is angry. Because storms rage when children are angry, because Jerrica doesn’t say goodbye, the plane crashes. There are no survivors. Faulty cause and effect, her father tells her, though not in those terms, but this is the moral of the backstory, the thing that sticks. Not saying goodbye to your parents whenever they leave the house will cause their untimely deaths, and so she sneaks from her bed when she is supposed to be sleeping so she can send her father off to work with the words he will need to stay alive. One day, she will sleep through his leaving and wake to the possibility of having orphaned herself. Her heart will break for the fourth time. When she puts it back together, the superstitious and the loving will be glued together in a way that makes her chest ache just before someone she loves walks out the door. This is why she will never let her son go without a long goodbye, as if it is a talisman more powerful than absence, more magical than death.

______________ [2] Season 2, Episode 25: “Out of the Past”


JENNY YANG CROPP is the author of the poetry collection String Theory, a 2016 Oklahoma Book Award finalist, and the chapbook Hanging the Moon. Her newest chapbook, Not a Bird or a Flower, was published by Ryga in 2018. She is an assistant professor of English at Southeast Missouri State where she also serves as poetry editor for the literary journal Big Muddy.

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