The Masters Review Blog

Feb 6

September Selects: “A Dictionary of How Things Break” by Nora Studholme

Today, we’re thrilled to share the first winner of our September Selects series! Nora Studholme’s “A Dictionary of How Things Break” was chosen by The Masters Review‘s staff as the winner of our Hermit Crab category. Study up on your terms below, and check back on Friday for a profile with the writer. Congratulations, Nora!

The cracks don’t show like they do on glass. You think at first people are like water. They close over a hundred tiny wounds again and again, surface unbroken. But really they’re like bones: bending and then—one more loss, one more betrayal—the break is complete, broad, irreparable.

1. Glass: radially. Flicking outward in forking fingers, fleeing the force until all its power is spent and it settles into an uneasy stillness.

2. Metal: reluctantly. It shouldn’t be breaking. It is supposed to be impervious. It splits hot and howling, its edges vengeful, seeking flesh.

3. Water: doesn’t. It shifts and splashes, playful, a mockery to weight. It refuses to be serious. It accepts, it envelops, it closes over. As whole as before.

4. Bones: raggedly. The halves slip away from each other in matching jigsaw shards, as tight as teeth. The bones of teens can bend at first, but then they snap. They pop and puncture inside a body, no hiss of air, but wouldn’t you expect it?

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