Tiffany Midge


We assume Winter enters svelte and willow-limbed, a girl intimately acquainted with control, who cuts her chicken breast into quarter-inch segments, counts rice one grain at a time and pares down cauliflower to daisy-sized blooms.

But in fact she reminds us of the pure cream and store-bought sugar the experts warn about: letís say the goatís cheese, the pillowy-soft flour rising with yeast. Letís say the white corn tortilla imprinted with the face of an angel. She believes in the curative properties of yogurt and the divinity of popped corn, just as she believes in the starch of clover honey, and extracting the sore orange eye from the egg.

Her potato-thighs rub together when she walks and her ass undulates like a surf of cottage cheese. And then thereís the iceónot the striations of icicles appearing alongside rain-gutters like a row fangs, nor the wiry ribbons of frost sparked by glacial floats on the coldest day of the year, but snow globe and igloo facets cobbled in random disorder, sheets of crinoline and layers of taffeta, pale and downy, dimpled as sourdough at rest, fat as a prized luminary squash.

We would fail to pick her out from a line-up. We assume her thin as a paper cut, her spine the hook of a question mark, a heavily lined face. We might think she owns jackío lanternís eyes or skin the pallor of chalk. But in fact she defies these assumptions. She conserves heat like a jungle cat, flails her arms in the cloud-rink sky, rises to meet the sun in its golden-belly excess.

She has not been seduced for a decade: something about the matronly shape of her body, or maybe her laugh, which is raucous and high. When she glimpses her reflection in store-windows she sees herself as someoneís maiden aunt stitched together with the last days of longing. But nothing about her reveals frigidity, even the smoke rings she presses out on idle, late afternoons, when she swings on the porch, bundled down in woolen throws, waiting for the burgeoning crocus, for the ice to break, waiting for the long-away arrival of spring.

Tiffany Midge's book, "Outlaws, Renegades and Saints: Diary of a Mixed-up Halfbreed" won the Diane Decorah Memorial Poetry Prize, and her chapbook "Guiding the Stars to Their Campfire, Driving the Salmon to Their Beds" was published by Gazoobi Tales. She is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and grew up in the Pacific Northwest. Tiffany holds an MFA from the University of Idaho.

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