Made Up Things

Some of Them Will Carry Me BY Giada Scodellaro. St. Louis: Dorothy. 184 pages. $17.
The cover of Some of Them Will Carry Me

“The Foot of the Tan Building”
A woman jumped from the top floor of a Northeast Bronx building, from the 33rd floor of a building, at around 10:40 in the morning (10:40 am, a time that seems too early to jump from anything at all). The woman might have recently lost a child. The photograph online shows the body at the foot of the tan building, near a patch of grass. Under a white sheet—a waiting body. Before the woman’s final decision she might not have considered the possibility of this white sheet, its thinness, or how it would not cover her body fully, the birds moving around her, how her legs would peek through at the bottom, her running shoes exposed, her childlike ankles exposed, and the woman certainly would not have considered someone taking her photo, this photo now posted online for anyone to see, capturing her ankles exposed in such a way. 

“Cabbage, the Highest Arch”
One head of cabbage, my grandmama says. She likes to tell me things. It is mostly about the people she despises, or about her mother. Sometimes it is about how to sauté the cabbage with bacon, green peppers, and onions. She tells me that she does not approve of a woman cooking only for herself, it’s selfish, she says, to cook only for oneself. My grandmama drags her feet on the ground. When she is in motion everyone knows it, the neighbors know it, she makes a sound like sandpaper. We sometimes call her Sandy, to reference this sound. 

Sandy has the smoothest skin, and on her feet the highest arch. Pieces of bacon and the cabbage in oil, in regular olive oil. Slices of onion, a whole onion, the big green pepper. My grandmama has her tight gray curls, and the white curls, the bridge of her nose, an expansive nose, her skin the most comprehensive brown, a dark brown, hairless, her sloped shoulders. 

My grandmama tells me made up things—how she once drew the attention of the Isley Borthers, Ernie or Chris, Rudolph, Vernon, O’Kelley Jr., Ronald or Marvin, how their hair had looked soft, and their chest hair had looked soft. How they had walked down a spiral staircase with a taller man of no relation, and how he had towered over them all, beautiful. She teaches me with her arms how to sauté all together: the cabbage, shredded and cut in half and then thirds, the edges cut off, in the big frying pan and on the stove, salt, the course salt, pepper, hot pepper at the end, in small batches, the cabbage sticking to the big pan, loosened with vegetable stock, or water. 

Excerpted from Giada Scodellaro’s Some of Them Will Carry Me, a debut story collection out now from Dorothy, a publishing project. All rights reserved.