l i l y    h o a n g

On Violence


Once, my father's friend, the Skinny Man, brought over a dead goat. He had hit it with his mini-van. My father helped him bring it in because it was too heavy for one man to carry alone, but they sent me to my room first. I had never seen a goat before—not up close—but I didn't argue. I didn't fight. I was just a kid then, still sleeping with my mother even though I was too old for that. I played house with marbles; they rolled and sat and drank tea out of tiny plastic cups.

Later, the men will drink beer and eat stewed goat.

Later, when I am taking a bath, the Skinny Man will come in and wash his hands, and I will watch how lathering makes bubbles and how quickly the water washes it all away. I will not look at his eyes in the mirror's reflection. The marbles will be slick with soap.



LILY HOANG is the author of four books, including Changing, recipient of a PEN Open Books Award. She has two novels forthcoming: Old Cat Lady (1913 Books, 2016) and The Book of Martha (Insert Blanc Press, 2017). Her collection of essays A Bestiary won the inaugural Cleveland State University Poetry Center's Nonfiction Contest and is forthcoming in 2016. With Joshua Marie Wilkinson, she edited the anthology The Force of What's Possible: Writers on Accessibility and the Avant-Garde. She teaches in the MFA program at New Mexico State University, where she is Associate Department Head. She serves as Prose Editor at Puerto del Sol and Non-Fiction Editor at Drunken Boat.

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