k a t r i n    t s c h i r g i



These are a people who live in the mountains. From an old Chinatown they ascended past the mines, and when their old town collapsed, they were thankful because they had discovered how to preserve. They would never be on the brink of collapse like an economy. They hid away in the caves, imprisoned themselves behind stalactites and the natural fence of cliffs. The father unrolls a parchment done in sweeping ink and painted hills. On a timeline, he runs his finger over where they are now: Song. And even though a millennium has passed, they are still here: Song.

When the air begins to numb, the mother breaks the bones of her youngest. It is the fifth time she has broken her daughters’ bones. The girl has just learned to walk when her mother decides it is time. In a bowl, she takes the blood of an old goat, dead of natural causes—she would never kill a living thing—and mixes the congeal with bitter rhizome, licorice, and ginseng. She soaks fresh muslin in the juice, breaks her daughter's toes and folds them like a paper crane into the ball of her foot. She snaps the arch like a pea pod and marries the foot to the heel.



KATRIN TSCHIRGI is originally from Boise, Idaho. Currently, she lives in Ohio where she is an MFA candidate in fiction at Bowling Green State University. Her work is forthcoming in Post Road.

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