The thing about identity is, people are always trying to define who you are for you, to tell you what you mean. And we should be interrogating our positions in society, our privilege relative to our oppression, but we should also be skeptical of those who insist we are definitively one thing or another.
Hearty congrats to former MQR intern Elinam Agbo, who was recently awarded a PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers.
He’s brown-eyed and big: six-foot three, two-thirty or so, and running a little to fat, which I never liked in a man but didn’t much mind in him. He has beautiful hands, and a smile that says everything’s easy. And although he’s only twenty-eight, not much older than me, he has a wife and three kids and a beat-up car with a baby-seat in the back. He has responsibilities.
She cried and I painted. And when I was finished,
she wiped that still-wet hand on my pants, left
streaks of drying varnish stinking the air.
Held her hand toward me. Said, again. Again.
To forget Etta Moten is to miss the chance to celebrate a life as eventful as the twentieth century she traversed, an American biography that boasted not only a second act but a third and a triumphant fourth.