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Lions Roar : January 2012
52“ SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2012 BEFORE I COULD READ OR WRITE, my mother wore a dress that covered her body in quotation marks. From my position of privilege, riding on her hip, I studied these marks as shapes, transfixed by the swollen body swooping around to a sharp tail, the simple alternation of the colors, black and brown on a white linen background, trying to parse the pat- tern in their arrangement. It became one of my favorite shapes to draw, showing up as nostrils in the endless horse drawings my best friend Lynn and I exchanged in fourth grade, paired and unpaired in margins of school notebooks, or on fragments of paper I absently filled with ink marks during phone calls. I drew them with a full roundness arcing to points of various lengths, never a straight line or even a simple curved line. In one drawing, fat quotation marks float at the ends of the twin filaments of fallopian tubes. Poems, conversation, punctuation—GENINE LENTINE’s mother was a lover of language. Yet as she lay dying she saw its limits. “If you want to feel my presence,” she told her daughter, “just let yourself be really quiet.” ILLUSTRATIONS BY TARA HARDY Chatterbox