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Voice Exercises

from China Cowboy

Uncle Daddy sees her mother on Tuesdays during the typhoon off-season. There is a room nine-by-twelve joined by a doorway to another room nine-by-six. They go into the room that is nine-by-six it has a sink in it. When Uncle Daddy leaves he steadies a red money envelope on a corner of the sink. Her mother repeatedly the rest of Tuesday and some of Wednesday cleans the sink. It is a ritual. She carefully cuts a circle of carpet from the rug and wets it soaps it scrubs it. Wets it, scrubs again. She does this until the circle of carpet curdles into yolky crumbles in the sink and then she eats the soapy lumps. If there are too many lumps she makes La La eat some too. La La always thinks of Uncle Daddy when she is at a sink washing up gargling swallowing. The only way she can stand it is she convinces herself those soapy fibers sticking in her throat will make her a better singer. She tells herself voice exercises every Tuesday during the typhoon off-season.

About the Author

Kim Gek Lin Short’s work has been published or is forthcoming in No Tell Motel, 42Opus, Drunken Boat, and other places. Her full-length collection, The Bugging Watch & Other Exhibits, is forthcoming from Tarpaulin Sky Press, and her chapbook, The Residents, was released from dancing girl press in late 2008.