Rebecca Schiff, “Boxing Experiment A38″

CoverA woman teaches her widowed mother to use the computer. 

(from The American Reader, Vol 2, No 2)

I did a search for “water filters” because I wanted to protect her from the carcinogens of Central New Jersey. When I typed the “w,” “women boxing” appeared as a previous search. He had sought them out. The boxers had enormous breasts. My mother’s breasts were tiny, a few inches of raised skin, nipples the size of pennies. Did he dream of swinging breasts, of humiliation, knock-outs, defeat?

I like Rebecca Schiff’s stories, which I’ve read in various magazines over the years, so I was excited to find this one. The voice is readable, honest, and I always identify with her narrators. As much as I like “Boxing Experiment A38,” I don’t feel like I know as much about the narrator as I want. What does she do when she’s not visiting her widowed mother, helping with dishes and looking at pictures of her deceased father? Who is she then? I want all the details. I wanted it to be messier. But I still love her and would happily read every word she writes. I hope she collects her stories in an actual book very soon. Someone publish them, please?

I’ve never read an issue of The American Reader before. I’m used to magazines like Fence and Tin House, with their shiny covers and brightly colored pictures, but Everett at Square Books told me to buy it. It has the usual poetry and fiction, as well as essays and book reviews, which I like very much, and I’ll be buying it again very soon or subscribing. I should subscribe. It’ll be kind of cool to look like I’m reading a business journal in public.

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