My analyst told me to tell her all my problems. I didn’t know where they began or ended, so I drew her a diagram. It expressed distress. She studied it, picking at a hole in her hosiery.
“A modern American doughnut.”
She looked grave. Then took a bite. And then another. The paper turned to pulp with her saliva. She held it half-eaten, chewing as she gazed at her silent rows of books that lined the walls, the insulation of this fallout shelter. I felt lighter already.
She swallowed without obvious effort.
“It’s delicious. Golden, lofted, cohesive, plump crumb. It’s everything an American doughnut should be. Your problems cost ninety-nine cents and are accompanied by coffee. Across the northern continent, fifty-seven percent of the adult population eats them on a regular basis.”
“No, it’s a metaphor. For my problems. Their seamlessness.”
“Are you listening to me?” she said. “Listen. Picture apes swinging through the forest. Now, god put the earth in a vacuum so that, beneath great clouds of obscurity, living beings could create themselves. So cells could make cells.” She rolled the rest of the paper into a round ball, a little wad between her fingers, and swallowed it whole. “Now go out there and find a hole.”
I gathered my diagrams. Outside, the street bristled with apertures. They bloomed everywhere, like hardy weeds. When you have a hammer—holes! I stuck a finger into every one.
Katy Rossing lives in Alabama. Her writing can be found in Pleiades, Salt Hill, and Devil’s Lake.