birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.



Mine are mostly on the inside. I have just one on the surface, a white mark on my left thumb, a faint trace on—what do you call that part? Bend your thumb down at the middle joint, the one farthest from your wrist. See the smooth stub that remains? There must be a name for it. The scar’s right there, halfway down, on the inside. I notice today that the ghost shape looks like the glyph of a flying saucer or Saturn standing on end, a tiny circle the size of a necklace clasp, bisected by a line. My brother was too young to remember, but he bit me when he was small enough that he had a tooth that size, if human teeth are actually that tiny once, if scars hold their size and shape for lifetimes. What is it that leaves a permanent mark? 

He was a drooler, not really a biter, and maybe I made him mad, though he was a placid, laughing baby. 

I was sure, when we were little, that we would marry each other. We didn’t talk about it, of course, but I knew it in my mind. Every Saturday morning we sat watching cartoons in our pajamas, me propped on a cushion at one end of the couch, he on the other. Our feet met in the middle and we rubbed them together under the blanket between us, eating Cheetos and licking our orange fingers. I was sure we would do this the rest of our lives. 

Now I remember my mother saying, “I don’t know what got into him. He just BIT you,” but that’s hearsay, like so much of the past. There’s a faint white mark on my thumb. It looks like a flying saucer. I’m told I got it from my brother.


Wonderfully made