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DeLisle, Mississippi


When I was six, a pit bull tried to rip out my throat. I was walking down my parents’ oystershell driveway when the dog attacked me, probably because another dog, brown and shaggy in my memory, was nearby and in heat. My attacker was white, muscled, wide across the chest, and tall; brandishing his weapon of a mouth, he blocked my path and sidled close to me. He was so still, and his back bumped my waist. “Move,” I told him. “Get.” Instead, he growled and jumped, and I fell beneath him. His growl rose to a pulsing grind. He sliced my scalp. My ear. My back. I curled in on myself, collapsed the target, and fought him. Beat his ribs with my fists. Kicked his soft underbelly. I screamed so loudly that my aunt ran down the street with a broom and beat him off of me, and then she walked me home. I wailed, covered in blood. On the way to the hospital, my mother put my head in her lap. I don’t remember crying in the car. I was in shock.

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is an associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University. Her novel Sing, Unburied, Sing was published last month by Scribner.

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