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On Small

By Sarah Cedeño

I am large and in charge.


When I inhale, I take in all the air in the room and when I let it out, wind whips through the hair of others—through the wisps of black on my neurologist’s head or the mop of caramel blond on my oldest son. People wonder how I’ve come to be such a force.


     But that’s not true at all. I have small lungs with little power. When I blow into the flow meter, doctors think I’m not trying. If I make it to forty, I will not extinguish the candles in one breath. I can wear my son’s shoes in a pinch. I can buy training bras and t-shirts from the girls’ section of Target. Students call me adorable and look at me like I’m a puppy when I have to stand on my toes to reach a bagel in the lunch line. And this type of gaze feels comfortable to me only because it’s normal.


     You might think I’m in the four-foot range. I’m not. But in the playback of an interview with one of my favorite writers, I sound even smaller than four feet, and the further into the hour-long interview, the smaller my voice shrinks next to her rasp, and whatever questions about writing I ask diminish between her breaths. I can hardly listen.



About the Author

Sarah Cedeño’s work is forthcoming or has appeared in The Pinch, The Baltimore Review, New World Writing, The Rumpus, Hippocampus Magazine, Bellevue Literary Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Brockport, NY with her husband and two sons, and teaches writing at the College at Brockport. She’s the Editorial Director of the national literary magazine Clockhouse and holds an MFA from Goddard College in Vermont.