The Present Is Where My Body Lies
Susan L. Lin

I won't last long as an art model where I am stretched thin all the time and not allowed to move -- I go to classes in old clothing that I can easily remove and peel off layer after layer -- this year after that year -- the past is falling off of me one year at a time and in the winter it's still too cold -- even with a personal heater -- even for me -- the door is cracked for ventilation with absolutely nothing to cover me -- and I wonder if this is revealing if the whole world can see me or if this is nothing at all -- if this is what Mom meant about giving her body to Art or if that was something else entirely -- and the instructor tells his students to pretend -- I am just a bowl of fruit -- that's it -- but everybody is staring and distorting my body on paper where it will stay long after I leave -- because doing a contour line drawing means not picking up your magic marker before you finish -- but doing it blind means learning to watch the subject not your paper -- in the end this is my life this is a line that goes from one point to the other this is one continuous line with no breaks in the middle -- if you need to pause, yes, please pause, but make it quick, or the ink will start bleeding spots in the middle. Of the line. First time I remember doing this the roles were reversed -- I was sketching Kyle Turner in fifth grade -- he saw it afterwards and said, "You can't draw worth crap" -- the right eye was lopsided and his mouth was eating his nose -- I said, "It's not my fault you look like that," and that was that.