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Why Does Dick Come First?
Nina Andrews

Every year school children wrote letters to Dick and Jane and Santa. Why? Jane wondered. Why did they care if she ate her lima beans or not, if she could catch a softball, if she had a last name? One girl named Stephanie wrote to ask why she let Dick win every single race. Does he ever come in second, she asked. Didn't Stephanie know? Jane's job was to clap so Dick could run fast, to be silly so Dick could laugh, to cry so Dick could comfort her, to scream oh no, so that Dick could save the day or Puff, the kitten. And Jane's job was to dress in pretty ruffled dresses and bobby socks and patent leather shoes so that other girls could dress in pretty ruffled dresses and matching socks and shiny shoes when they, too, shouted, go Dick go.
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Adolescence by Nina Andrews

The winter her body no longer fit, walking felt like swimming in blue jeans
and a flannel shirt. Everything stuck to her skin: gum wrappers, Band–aids,
leaves. How she envied the other girls, especially the kind who turned into
birds. They were the ones boys hand–tamed, training them to eat crumbs from
their open palms or to sing on cue. What she would have done for a red
crest and a sharp beak, for a little square of blue sky to enter her like
wings. But it was her role to sink so the others could rise, hers to sleep
so the others could dance. If only her legs weren’t too sodden to lift, if
only her buttons would unfasten in the water she kept swimming through, and
she could extract from the shadow of her breasts a soul as soft as a silk
brassiere, beautiful and useless, like a castle at the bottom of the sea. 


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November 2014

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