by Kat Jagai
I never had occasion to learn the word ‘tussock’ until I was fumbling up over the frozen hills of Southern Vermont, fingers catching on the crystal-limned tufts of long grass. Out here in the blue-crowned fields, the wind howls down into the bowl of the valley in an unstoppable rush, whipping the ringing forest into a fervor and startling the birds from their boughs. Three for a funeral, or three-faced Hecate, or the Morrígan in her triplicate corvid form. Their hoarse screaming heralds the cold before it blasts over my skin, sapping the moisture and leaving my lips chapped and trembling.
Every morning, I make my slow way over the hill to open up the post office. I sit on the loading dock with my thermos of tea and a lit cigarette, watching the sun make its groaning way over the mountain. It, too, is tired. From here, I can see the mail truck come rumbling over the gravel road like a great beast, its vintage form and flaking paint rendering it charming. An old machine for an old world, full of colonial houses and barns and shingle cottages. If not for me—brown skin, spike-studded leather gloves, combat boots, and sculptural woolen coat—this place could be 1963, still.
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K. A. Jagai is a writer, artist, and editor from Brooklyn, New York. They work in IP for Alloy Entertainment, a creative think tank and full-service editorial partner that develops and produces original books, television series, and feature films. Jagai’s own writing has appeared in Frontier Poetry, Electric Literature, Publishers Weekly, and elsewhere. They were awarded Summer Literary Seminars’ 2018 Poetry Fellowship and have taken classes at Cave Canem. They received their B.A. from Bennington College in 2016, where they studied literature, printmaking, and critical race theory. In both art and writing, they are seeking that light within themselves and others that can only be seen when one is forced into the dark.