‘Girl’ by Jamaica Kincaid

This is how to love a man, and if this doesn’t work there are other ways, and if they don’t work don’t feel too bad about giving up; this is how to spit up in the air if you feel like it, and this is how to move quick so that it doesn’t fall on you; this is how to make ends meet”Damn, how Ms. Kincaid swung this story about, and how each time I’ve read it I never see the end coming or know if it’s a monologue or not, but I always feel better about giving up on household chores immediately, and how this story never fails to feel like a warm breeze on the back of your neck when you’re speeding on a motorbike. ‘Girl’ is an adventure ride, and its boldness is in every semi-colon, every em-dash. Girl, this is how you live. 

First published in The New Yorker, June 26, 1978. Collected in At The Bottom of the River, FSG, 1983. Read it here

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