Margaret Mackenzie Schwartz
The Wrong Half, p.2

My favorite song, "Conduit for Sale."
Verse: Between here and there is better than either here or there!
Chorus: I知 trying I知 trying I知 trying I知 trying;
I知 trying I知 trying I知 trying I知 trying


I like antiquated slang and clever turns of phrase. I'm mannered. I wear sweater vests and pencil skirts and smart bobs.


My father's favorite saying:

The turtle lives 'twixt plated decks
Which practically conceals its sex.
I think it quite clever of the turtle --
In such a fix --
To be so fertile.

On his gravestone it says GENERALIST.


My half-brother who's whole Jewish wants to know when my mother converted. She didn't, I respond, which surprises him. When I tell my mom about the misunderstanding she quips, "I was never a convert, just a cheerleader."


I would say it was searching except I'm too proud to admit I'm missing anything. I'm all gaps. I want it all, and there's no reason to believe, from this standpoint, that it isn't possible.


When I talk about half I am talking first of all about coupling. Electricity, loops, imperfect junctions. I am talking about someone, and I am talking about a history, and I am also talking about a feeling.

Half is the feeling that words slip. From this body it is not possible to say I don't believe that without looking over your shoulder. I'm the persecuted and the persecutors all at once; I am also the misled, the ones who 屠ust followed orders. There's a before and an after, for halvsies: we can't exist until the world decides that tradition is transparent and mutable, until that God that Nietzsche made famous died and histories are arbitrary or easily discarded or animal or practical or nothing special. Which they are, and aren't-another place that makes words both to fill in the gap and to recapture what has been lost.

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