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Dzanc Books is nonprofit press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. In addition to publishing activities, Dzanc Books also supports the Disquiet International Literary Program.

#CountdowntoPub: Excerpt from The Lost Daughter Collective: Catalog on What a Daughter Is Not

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#CountdowntoPub: Excerpt from The Lost Daughter Collective: Catalog on What a Daughter Is Not

Guy Intoci

Below is an excerpt from The Lost Daughter Collective. This particular section was written very early in the process of composing the book, when I was doing exercises to try to attune myself to loss. This particular exercise is the only one that made it into the final book, and it was written on a very rainy day at the Vermont Studio Center. I had read Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee in one sitting, took a break to breathe, then followed up with Donald Barthelme’s “Nothing: A Preliminary Account.” What happened afterward is this:

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A DAUGHTER IS NOT dark clouds on a winter day.

A daughter is not the quilt that covers sick legs, a spoiled celebration.

A daughter is not a minor chord, nor the rope binding a pair of struggling feet.

A daughter is not an abandoned cup of tea gone cold, nor the paper links of a chain made by hands now grave.

A daughter is not an undeveloped photograph, nor the broken leg of an antique chair.

A daughter is not the spice rack, nor the sugar bowl, the driveway that ends before it meets the road.

A daughter is not a frail and failing sweater, the cracking paint on a wall behind which dark tasks are undertaken.

A daughter is not hot milk, nor the pavement, nor what we have come to understand as adventure.

A daughter is not a brave sun that dares to rise the morning after an important death, the craters of the moon or the stings of a wasp.

A daughter is not a weather catastrophe, fruit, or music.

A daughter is not a knife, nor a fingernail clipping; a daughter is not a satchel, nor a damp pair of underwear, nor a cutting board.

A daughter is not the stairs that lead to the cellar, nor your debt.

A daughter is not the lesson that less is more.

A daughter is not the act of winding, the wind, a healing wound or coils of wire wound round a neck.

A daughter is not a vehicle, soft glass, tomorrow.

A daughter is not gravity, nor the drawing of the blinds.

A daughter is not a son.

In a dark hollow in a wood at twilight, a daughter that was, is not.