ISSUE 6 · SPRING 2011




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Copyright © 2011

Jessica Young





from the human-suit series

JESSICA YOUNG



Part II


Today at the dry cleaner’s I show my ticket stub, and a body brings me

a plain jacket made of tweed with leather elbow patches, instead of my


human-suit. The face before me insists the plain tweed jacket with

leather

elbow patches is the article I’ve come to retrieve, and suggests I take it


and go. I gesture to the word “suit” on the stub—human-suit, not some

plain jacket. The two legs move, carrying off what is not mine, clearly


just as displeased at this added effort. I have been coming here now

for seven months, I say in the direction of the sway-swaying body,


and I’ve never had a problem before. Seven months, the voice says

from every corner of the room, never seen you. The hand listlessly


holds up my human-suit, draped from a hanger, sheltered in thin plastic.

The hand dances my human-suit up and down, to catch my attention


from the back of the room, the rotating whirl of washables. And if

I’d been wearing it, I’d have clapped its palms together to show relief.




Part III


Today I set out to bicycle to the harbor around the hour

the seals get hungriest and bob around like plastic bags.


But I left late, and so I raced, and as I went to dismount

side-saddle, snagged my human-suit on the derailleur,


still rusty from the rain season. It wasn’t pretty, and I’ll

spare you the more nauseating details, but the way gears


work, so fast, they ripped off a nice chunk from the right

leg. Maybe four square inches. After that I was afraid


to lean too far over the dock, lest something fall out, and

was afraid for the families who came to see seals, seeing


more than expected. Then I was afraid for the depleted

repair-kit, the minutes tainted by help-line hold-music


on repeat, and ultimately, the prohibitive cost of shipping

back and forth my human-suit for the third time this year.




Part IV


My human-suit felt tight today. This happened

once in 2006—tight one day, couldn’t get it on


for two weeks. Far as I can tell, it’s separate

from diet and exercise, separate from a mere


wanting. Maybe it’s the tide, maybe it’s not;

what matters is I’m supposed to be seated


on an Amtrak train now, and instead

I’m tugging slowly at the squinched-up


places, hoping they might ease up in time

for the 4:43. And when this happens,


I curse, and I ask nicely, I pull taut that

which can be pulled taut, but all the while


know it is out of my hands, like the way

a drop of water slides down the cup’s side.