Nov/Dec 2021 • Vol. XLIII No. 6 November 8, 2021 |

And We Inherit Everything

2021 Kenyon Review Short Nonfiction Contest Winner We live at the mouth of grief, and even a new loss tastes familiar, a rehearsed recipe we carry in our bones. Epigenetics will tell you: look to your mother. My mother is twenty-one. My father is already married, older, and a fool. When he says he loves my mother he means it, but only in that breath, in that supplication that brings him back to his youth, before he becomes anchored to the girl and the boy and the wife waiting for him at home. Like Calypso, my mother holds onto this love for seven years. Or is my mother Nausicaa, longing, but never having, and eventually punished for coveting a stranger despised by her own god? No, that is the wrong allusion. Odysseus’s women won’t exist until I am in college. Instead, as a child, my mother tells me of La Mepesa and La Sirena. They are pecadoras. One leaves her children behind para putear at parties in town and the other believes a man enough to drown for his love. Bu

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Brigitte Leschhorn Arrocha has published fiction in Boulevard magazine and the Southeast Review and an essay in Crab Orchard Review. She is currently an English instructor at Phillips Academy in Andover and is working on her first novel and an essay collection.

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