Alice Bolin


All small movements form a subtle orbit around one point: her birthday. Her birthday. Her trust in the balm of life is faint as a fingerprint. So if you plan to breathe against her that night at the bowling alley there's no need to call it a gift. She has devoted her body to recognitions, the brief impression a hand can make when pulled across her flank. There's something lovely—birthday week, her cheeks give an efflorescent glow, and the low beam of bowling alley lights treats her teeth like a smile might.




This piece takes pretty direct inspiration from the "Short Talks" section of Anne Carson's terrific book Plainwater. It comes from a group of a few other other sort of sad little prose pieces.