Belly of a Fish

by Rachel Mangini Read author interview June 27, 2011

This is April Jones sitting in a circle of tipsy kids, next to Becca, the best swimmer on their team. This is Becca: radiant, loud, loves documentaries, spends her babysitting money on CDs for the team’s long bus rides. This is April who swims in the last lane with kids whose bodies aren’t assembled right for, as Coach likes to say, slicing through the water like a knife through the belly of a fish.

This is April Jones wishing her whole team wasn’t watching. This is Becca drunk on schnapps, smiling at cheering boys, pressing her lips to April’s, swirling her sour tongue inside April’s mouth. Living out in the boonies like they do, all the kids have seen a fish gutted. Or held the knife. They know it’s not a clean slice, but a struggle, cracking through scales and cartilage before the stinking mess spills out.

This is April Jones standing in the snow without her parka, sucking deep breaths of cold air because Coach says, when a muscle aches, you ice it down.

About the Author:

Rachel Mangini lives in Pittsburgh where she writes during evenings and weekends. She is the fiction editor of Hot Metal Bridge Magazine. This is not her first creative collaboration with the artist—when they were teenagers, Rachel sat very still while Amy chopped off her hair with kitchen scissors. You can read more about haircuts and first kisses on Rachel's blog at everyonesanocean.wordpress.com.

About the Artist:

Amy Van Horn lives and works in New York City.

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