The Self and Others


My lawyer speaks for me because I’m losing control of my own affairs. I dream of murdering people, even though I’m not a violent person. In the attic, a trunk — a chest or box — I sometimes open while looking out the window at the garden gate because I can’t bear to glimpse what Mother has locked inside. Near the staircase is a ladder to another window, a view of my neighbor’s house — a window looking into another window of another’s world. The ladder I’m afraid to climb for fear of going too high and looking into a room I’m not supposed to see. In the house, I’m drowning in narrow spaces with photographs lost in purses. As a child, I was the victim of a kidnapping. My captor was someone I knew. I will never say his name because I know him, even now. He was once a dear friend of my family, grown ever dearer and more frightening over time.


Photo By: Grant Hutchinson

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About Author

Aimee Parkison is the author of “Woman with the Dark Horses” (2004, winner of the first annual Starcherone Prize), “The Innocent Party,” (2012, BOA Editions, Ltd.), and the short poetic novel “The Petals of Your Eyes,” about kidnapped girls who become actors in a secret theater (2014, Starcherone/Dzanc). She has taught creative writing at a number of universities, including Cornell University, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Oklahoma State University, where she is currently an Assistant Professor of Fiction Writing. Parkison has also received a Christopher Isherwood Fellowship, a Writers at Work Fellowship, a Kurt Vonnegut Fiction Prize from The North American Review, a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship in Prose Writing, and a Hearst Fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society. See more at

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