‘101’ by May-Lan Tan

I remember this blowing my mind when it came out and I still go back to it today. Why did it blow my mind? Mainly for its brevity and sexiness. With a cover quote from Gordon Lish, it was in retrospect no surprise to find such clipped, perfectly crafted sentences. But the sexiness – my goodness!

I’ve given this to so many people as a gift and each time it feels somehow improper and yet each time they come back to me and say they loved it and my god wasn’t it sexy. They are all right.

The sunlight looked like powder as you shoved me back onto the hood of the car. My shirt was off, and the metal was so hot the paint felt sticky.

First published in The Reader, and collected in Things to Make or Break, CB Editions, 2014, and in a new edition, Sceptre, 2018

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