We moved eight times from rooms not ours. Landlady of my mom and me, of heat and fees of the small corner the orange rug didn’t reach. I colored it in with my orange crayon. Landlady of my mom and me who withheld our housing deposit fee. I colored in the floor carefully alone with my orange crayon and lost our deposit at age four. Sixty dollars. Landlady withheld it all. I colored in the floor unsupervised and alone when I was four. My mom took the lady to small claims court. For sixty dollars. On Easter morning landlady called me to her room. I’d been wandering alone in the yard that was hers, not ours. On Easter morning landlady brought me to her room and cut the dress my mom had sewn. I stood half-dressed in the center of the silent floor. I stood barefoot in the center of the silent floor as the landlady cut, cut, cut. I stood alone. Too long for a little girl. I stood barefoot in the center of the silent floor. My dress lay on the floor. Too long for a little girl. No room was ours. My dress lay on the floor.
About The Author
Jessica Cuello’s most recent book is Yours, Creature (JackLeg Press, 2023). Her book Liar, selected by Dorianne Laux for The 2020 Barrow Street Book Prize, was honored with The Eugene Nassar Prize, The CNY Book Award, and a finalist nod for The Housatonic Book Award. Cuello is also the author of Hunt (The Word Works, 2017) and Pricking (Tiger Bark Press, 2016). Cuello has been awarded The 2022 Nina Riggs Poetry Prize, two CNY Book Awards, The 2016 Washington Prize, The New Letters Poetry Prize, a Saltonstall Fellowship, and The New Ohio Review Poetry Prize. She is poetry editor at Tahoma Literary Review and teaches French in CNY.
The AR Reading List
An ongoing assortment of books by contributors, staff, and books we've featured in reviews.
D. E. Lee