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by Letitia L. Moffitt

She’s right I shouldn’t have been reading the book in class, at least I shouldn’t have hidden it inside my bible pretending to read one while reading the other, it’s just the one was so boring, Job I mean, and the other, well, maybe it isn’t that I was reading it instead of the Bible but maybe it was the book itself, I’m not really enjoying it much more than Job but there’s something about it, the words, getting under my skin, though now of course they’re getting on my skin because of this sentence, my sentence, what a sentence from that Sister Alma, making me write it out like this, page after blue bloody page, the side of my arm is blue squiggles from the ink, new veins, veins take blood to the heart, don’t they, or is that arteries?, no, veins, so these are taking the words from the page to my heart, how ironic, but is it really?, nuns are amazing, aren’t they, the punishments they think up, you know what that’s all about don’t you, mortifications of the flesh, all those martyrs being garroted and disemboweled and who was the one who had her boobs cut off, flung them at her torturer too, now that would be one for Sister Alma, if she came back and I threw my arm at her because it had fallen off from all this writing, though I’d have to throw it with my left arm and I can’t throw worth shit with that arm, I wonder how heavy it would be, my arm that is, you know what they say about dead weight feeling so much heavier than live, that seems wrong doesn’t it, you’d think something that’s alive would be greater than something dead, it seems backwards, like the words that have smeared backwards onto my skin, I can’t read any of it there, not just because it’s backwards and I have to twist my arm around to see it, when it transferred from the paper to my skin it changed, itself and me, what a bargain, two alterations for the price of one sentence, my sentence, maybe what Sister Alma didn’t like was all those references to whores in the book, she’s a nun after all, though how different is a whore and a nun, both provide succor, or one does, the other, I’m trying to think of the pun, the other is a sucker?, that’s pretty bad, if Sister heard that she’d make you write out dirty jokes for three hours, I bet she knows some good ones too, that thing about nuns being chaste, that doesn’t seem to apply to their brains, I heard Sister Virginia say cock once and she didn’t mean rooster, no sir, that word coming out of her mouth made the whole class jump, actually it was very sexy, dirty and pure, hello 976-NUNZ Sister Virginia speaking, can I offer you succor?, I’m bad but at least they can’t read my mind, no but they can sure read my body right now, look at the palm of my hand, look at my wrists, blue ink stigmata, my muscles feel like they’re growing quills, tingling, Job was about suffering and so am I right now, I wonder why she didn’t make me write Job in one long sentence, my sentence, instead it’s Well miss if that book is so fascinating why don’t you make me a copy, so here I am smearing a backwards copy of those words onto my arm while I make a forward one for her, well I always wanted to be a writer didn’t I, yes but it’s funny sometimes I wish I could be a musician or an artist instead, at least those people get to use their bodies for what they do, it’s not all trapped in your mind or on the page, I mean yes I have to get words down on paper somehow, but it doesn’t have to be by hand like this, I could type or dictate, Henry James did that didn’t he, or was it James Joyce, no it was both of them, Henry James Joyce, didn’t they both go blind too, that’s the worst thing I can think of for a reader, what would you do with all those books, what value did they have in their dead weight after the words are rendered meaningless, after they’re just things, just like this sentence, my sentence, what else could one do with a book?, I tried to masturbate with a book once, I mean really using it, pressed my buds between the pages, that was OK, then rubbed it between my legs but that didn’t do much, it was a paperback because I thought a hardcover might hurt, the corners, you know, but the paperback felt like someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing so everything is flat and you want to scream harder faster more something will you, but he’s only rubbing the surface, he doesn’t get into you and you don’t get out onto him, I hate that, not that I’m into rough stuff but come on, don’t waste my time, bad sex, bad books, it’s all the same, though I suppose either one is better than nothing, those crummy little paperbacks you get at the used bookstore for a dollar, I must have a million of them, whore books because who knows what people have done with them before I got them, tried to masturbate with them maybe, or even worse scribbled in the margins, Sister Alma hates it when you write in books, lots of people get punished for that in this class, not me, I didn’t get it for putting myself on the book, I got it for putting the book in the bible, and now I’m getting the book on me, the words on me, that’s it, isn’t it, suddenly I understand, I know what I’m supposed to do, an epiphany of sorts, remember when you found out James Joyce didn’t invent epiphany but it was in the bible first, one of the Sisters told you that, she also told you where ecstasy came from, funny how all those sex words came from Jesus, ecstasy rapture passion and don’t forget succor, but Jesus must have known that would happen to those words, he was the word after all, body of Christ amen, the body, my body, my sentence, so I start with my feet, they’re easy, almost like writing on a little notepad, one that’s got other things stuck in it though, other pieces of paper with paperclips and staples or else folded, so that when you write on the top your pen stumbles over what’s beneath, how’s that for metaphor, but I’m not becoming a metaphor, I’m becoming words, I’m not a symbol, I’m words, I’ve crossed that line, I’ve dotted that i too, that I too, working my way up my legs, lots of room on those thighs, thank god I stopped dieting or I’d never have room for all of this sentence my sentence, I’ve finished my legs, I try to go between them with the pen, not like I did with the book, only to fill it with words but it’s kind of hard, I don’t mean that way (Sister would get a kick out of that one), I mean difficult, with the hairs and all, should have bikini waxed but who knew this would happen today?, moving on up to my pelvis, a moment on the lips a lifetime on the hips, how appropriate, this won’t last though, this ink isn’t permanent, of course neither is this body, dead weight one day, not today though, it’s alive today, the words are alive, the pen moving up to my breasts, I won’t do anything cute like dot an i with a nipple or use the other as a period between sentences, can’t do that anyway since this is all once sentence my sentence no periods no ending, well, it has to end one day, judgment day perhaps when we’re all dead weight, when we all dead wait to receive our sentence, our bodies, the body of us, nuns should write the bible on their bodies and have the class read it that way, Class please turn to look at my ass and you’ll see why Job must suffer so, maybe we’d learn it better that way, but who knows maybe they do that already, who knows what’s under a habit, bad habit I have reading books I’m not supposed to in class, but at least now her punishment makes sense, it has real meaning, or it has no meaning, it’s only words on a page that have made their way to my body this body, and when Sister Alma comes back she’ll find a girl naked like Eve covering her shame with the succor of words.

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Document last modified on: 08/19/2003

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