Question & Answer 1 – Lauren Elkin

Question 1

I grew up as the Laurel
to an alcoholic Hardy –
a man who pressed plates
into walls like I pressed
Hungarian stamps onto
the back of my sailor’s heart.

Are your memories sepia,
or seeping into your retinas
during REM sleep? We
retain each other’s tastes –
peanuts, and lemonade,
but not our airs and graces.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

I was reading something recently about someone who tried to get through childhood as quickly as possible, I can’t remember who, and that’s a bit how it was for me, avoiding the kids with Cheetos mouths and Doritos fingers, trying not to get their ick on me, ready for the day when I could be on my own and not have to go where I was told and see who I wanted and talk to them about whatever I, they, we wanted.

And then I was reading something else recently about families and the way they echo each other and it made me think about how I have my mother’s airs and graces and my sister has them too and if you heard one of us on the phone you wouldn’t know who it was, the mother of two on Long Island, the younger daughter a Manhattan lawyer or the older daughter who’s French now and lives in Paris, we all sound the same, and when it comes down to it, mother, lawyer, writer, we say much the same things, too. It made me wonder who else on our family tree, what long silent voice had our voice, or is it just the three of us voicing a sound no one will make again?

– Lauren Elkin