Titleless - Portia Elan

While visiting Seattle for the AWP Conference, Pinch journal staffers came across some particularly inspiring Sasquatch-themed writing. In the name of all you misunderstood Sasquatches out there, we thought we'd see what turned up with a prompt for new work pertaining to the phenomenon of large, hairy, bipedal humanoids. This titleless entry from Portia Elan is one of two winning pieces selected by the editors. Keep believing! 


I made it out of clay first; not clay but dirt, the wet dirt we used as face paint over our cheeks, shaped into mud pies and then threw, sun-baked, against the wooden fence while the trains came by; that’s a lie though, not what I made it out of; I made it out of heart, entire, although that too could be made out of dirt, the heart that slings itself through the forest, heart that calls like a monkey, ruffles its silver fur, does not know its own height, which is great, which is astonishing; I made it and it was an it, because I gave it nothing between its legs, until it spoke, because it was made out of heart, and told me that it was a she: You made me to suffer, she said; which I did not know until she said it, and then I did know; It would have been better if you’d made me out of dirt, she said; if I had made her out of dirt, in that first rain she could have gone back, could have re-leased; but I used my heart and so she was indelible, in her being, although constantly shifting, so that those who saw her once never saw her exactly the same way again, which made her a thing of mystery, of myth, and searchers began to spend their days, at first only their days, and then their nights, binoculars pressed to their eyes, hoping for a glimpse — a small vision — of the creature they had seen before; and though what they saw each time was different on the outside, what they felt was the same: that they needed, that they wanted, that the creature darting through the mountains around them was that last missing piece, she was the obvious answer to a question they had been told not to ask when they were small, because they asked it over and over, without relief; why; they lost sleep; they could not stop looking for her, and when she came to see me, she was very tired from running; she wanted to come back into me; she said please; and I was afraid that the searchers would start to come looking for me, but she was my heart, my heart made of dirt, made of low and ugly, made of silver fur, taking up too much space, and so I said her, Yes.




Portia Elan is a high school library assistant on the West Coast. Her chapbook To Yield Like Water & Nothing Else is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. Her poems can be found in Ninth Letter, Elimae, Cloud Rodeo, ILK and Toad.