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Embody

A home for nonfiction prose about the grueling, exhilarating, essential business of finding peace (or not) with the bodies we inhabit, considering age, sexuality, race, ability, gender identity, size, athleticism, addiction, illness, and the experience of occupying unfamiliar, hostile, and wonderful spaces.

Extreme Heat

by Adam Gianforcaro

A sweat-soaked man in the gym’s sauna explains why he frequents one local neighborhood over the others. “It’s where I go for young pussy,” he says to the older guys, gawking through the dry heat and then turning his gaze to me. “And I bet that’s easy for you, kid.” 

The man looks like a cop and talks like one. I am white and pass as straight, which I guess is why he speaks to me at all…

Coming Next Friday!

The Verrazano Bridge Has a Way of Looming

by Laura Maffei

The Verrazano Bridge comes at me in waves from the back seat of my parents’ car. Thick metal cables rise higher and higher until they stretch above my line of vision with the first tower, impossibly high. Then the cables dip lower and rise higher again

Inside the car, in front of me in the passenger seat, my mother’s head turns. I see her face in profile. She is speaking to me.

“We’ll only tell Aunt Grace and Uncle Sal,” she says…

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INFERTILE

by Sonia Ruyts

Infertility, unexplained. The diagnosis was rendered unceremoniously: a box checked on a form I wasn’t supposed to see. After years of unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant, the answers weren’t coming, only percentages, protocols, and more procedures. I was quietly unraveling…

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Mr. Big Balls

by E. J. Myers

After reporting to the Armed Forces Examining and Entrance Station, acquiring my packet of initial paperwork, taking the fourth-grade level I.Q. test, and providing samples of urine and blood, I accompanied sixty or seventy other draftees into a large room to undergo the mass physical exam…

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In the Bathhouse

by Yennie Jun

My grandmother is naked as she sits beside me on the stone step and pours water from the hot spring over her shoulders. She fills the white plastic bucket and dumps the steaming water over my head. I exhale in surprise as my skin turns bright red. She smiles widely and hands me the bucket. “Do you want to do it yourself?”…

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Hot Wire

by Lindsay Brown

We eat well. There is duck (freezer burned) thawing in the sink. I found it in the discount bin at the No Frills market. My husband, James, is making Duck A l’Orange for dinner. We stand side by side in our galley way kitchen, bodies close as we cook for our children. 

I turn down the Iron Maiden blasting from his phone. Talking while we prep reminds me of better days… 

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Safely Pinned

by Anu Kumar

I was eleven when I first felt the pain on my left side, somewhere around the circular, darker tinted spot of skin on my upper left torso. I had no words then to describe the location, so the doctor, a kind middle-aged lady, lifted my dress, exposing my large bloomers, and looked where I pointed. 

“It’s just her breasts,” the doctor said, in a mildly dismissive way

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Carlos

by Stuart Watson

While my aunt and uncle were downstairs drinking themselves to an early grave, my cousins invited me into their bedroom closet. Then, they pulled out the magazines. Handed them around. Looked at me as if they were sharing the secret answer to everything. So, I flipped the pages, got my first glimpse of everything

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Five Stages of Gray

by Jenn Hall

Some say it’s a Celtic thing. Others that I’m “kissed by nature.” 

You’re blessed. 

Special…

Thick and unruly, the first gray hair stakes its claim when I’m 15. Socially anxious with acne to match, this leaves no place to hide…

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The Thong

by Sarah Taylor-Foltz

I lay blindfolded on a mattress on a hot day, wearing nothing but a thong. It’s not what you think. I am alone. This is research...

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Obsessive

by Nazanin Soghrati

You begin picking your skin at age fourteen—freshman year—shedding it like leaves falling from maple trees in autumn. Picking at your skin is an unconscious urge. You pick again and again: in class, at home, amidst birthday parties, during family dinners, on restless nights sitting in the humid heat of the city, under the burden of a slew of homework, in bed at 3 A.M. when you can’t sleep and have long since given up counting sheep…

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Adaptive Sports in Crested Butte, Colorado

by Brian Ascalon Roley

We four always took the free busses down from the slopes to town. The ratty ones that had 1970s-style Day-Glo and hippie paint, rust-encrusted bumpers, and old rickety platform lifts that could raise my older son’s wheelchair with him on it and sometimes me too standing behind him, clasping the handles for his safety…

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The Good Doctor

by Erica Kent

The dim hum of an infirmary. A womb of faded pink curtains. The gurney’s vinyl slab.

You are eighteen. Your gut is a swirling mass of snakes. It’s hard to breathe.

A week before, you flew from Boston to Arizona on the shaky premise of attending college, but really you just want to soak in hot tubs and drink beer—and hopefully, meet a long-haired boy with bed-you-down eyes.

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