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The Binding Sequence
Jane-Rebecca Cannarella
Writer of the Month


During the summer of the thrift store eyelet dress I scraped my chin while drunk on whatever I found in the cabinet. I told my best friend that everyone should live their lives like they were stuck in the opening of a teen television drama. My hands, vigilant and un-resting, crawled through clots of soapy water washing away earth, and gluiness, and the smell of sweat.

I violently flew on swing sets babbling lyrics to songs I’ve now forgotten, breath stained with whiskey. My hands were always seemingly clammy with grime since it was the season of sex in the park in the middle of the night. Different times with different people, in a corner of the playground near a miniature bridge that crossed a dried-up stream.

I embraced the role of a disgraceful young woman, if there really is such a thing. And if so, I was honored to be the part.  Dirty hair with clumps of mud planted in between the tendrils, the knots from motion bundled on the back of my head. 

And very shortly later on, there was the time the homeless guy sitting on a stoop in Center City told the boy I was in love with “she isn’t even beautiful, man” while we ambled past. He said, “that’s not nice,” in return, which for some reason just made me feel worse. I wore the dress that had the dirt stains at the apex of the wings of my shoulder blades. When I craned my neck down and touched the tips of my shoulders, I felt like I might be able to fly. 

The heat drove people to unprecedented candor that year. This was around the same era that I pinched the skinny flesh around my humerus, the preoccupation with being infatuated acting as my food. The short-lived inspiration and admiration bloomed in my stomach where favorite snacks used to live. I ate starvation because I couldn’t digest anything but my many romantic fixations. 

The suburbs became an island where people couldn’t escape. I tried to pluck out mournful melodies on toy instruments, point and counterpoints in a tin-y fugue that eventually became aural memories of shadowy figures who ceased to care after a while. 

A man that I realized a decade later was still a boy, once told me that my meanness was disgusting, so I jumped out of his idling car into a night where the damp humidity melted into my exposed limbs. I shouted “fuck” at his car, not even bothering to finish the sentiment. I wondered how far I could push people into breaking. If that was a power that anyone actually had. 

In future years, with additional ounces that matched the passing of time, no one would hunt for me, so I’d grab fistfuls of my own flesh to remember what it felt like when lost girls were wanted. 


originally published in New South Journal

Jane-Rebecca Cannarella is the editor of HOOT Review and Meow Meow Pow Pow Lit.  She was a genre editor at Lunch Ticket, as well as a former contributing writer at SSG Music and Sequart: Art & Literacy. When not poorly playing the piano, she chronicles he many ways that she embarrasses herself at the website .