Summer 2023 • Vol. XLV No. 1 Selected ProseJune 14, 2023 |

The Bottom of Things

Your sister asked me to write on your memorial wall, but I couldn’t; this was what I wanted to write. The last time we saw each other was at her wedding, remember? No, you can’t remember because you’re in the ground and I’ve been living among godless white Americans too long, so I don’t believe in spirits anymore. But for that wedding, how many days’ notice did you give me? More like hours, less than forty-eight. You didn’t say, but I’m pretty sure your sister was trying to set you up with this other girl, so you figured out you shouldn’t go alone. The other girl stared at me all night. Maybe because I was playing a role for you, or maybe the role I was playing was for myself. We met at a point in my life when I cared to make other girls jealous, with the heels and the size two, the past-shoulder blond hair, the wit, the MIT rocket scientist boyfriend who played football in college. Every other girl’s thirst and stare was punishment against all womanhood for m

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Meredith Talusan (she/they) has published a memoir, contributed to ten books, and published stories and essays in more than twenty publications. She received a Creative Capital Award and a MacDowell Fellowship for fiction in 2023, and has previously received awards from GLAAD, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association. For more about her work, visit

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