It belonged in a curiosity cabinet, between a homunculus skull and philosopher’s stone, not on a
bottom shelf of the school library. It was blue, untitled, and full of cryptozoological sketches of
deep-sea creatures. It was, I thought, the most important discovery I’d ever make, but I didn’t
know what to do with such power. I checked out The Unicorn and the Lake instead, the same
book I checked out every week. The ending was the same each time, the unicorn retreating into
the mountains and the animals forgetting their common language. Maybe I’d be a different
person if I’d taken the blue book. Maybe I wouldn’t have walked away from you.
A graduate of Oregon State University’s MFA program, Rita Feinstein is based in Washington, DC, where she teaches creative writing to kids and teens. She is the author of two poetry collections, Life on Dodge and Everything is Real, both from Brain Mill Press. Her stories and poems have appeared in Permafrost, Grist, and Willow Springs, among other publications, and have been nominated for Best of the Net and Best New Poets.