Creative Nonfiction

Past Compensation

AMY BOTULA is an advocate and teacher. Her work has been published in The Rumpus and The Manifest-Station, and she is a former columnist for PubliCola. She lives in Portland, Oregon, but holds tight to her Pittsburgh roots.

I AM PENELOPE. I am the one who waits.

Instead of re-weaving a mourning shroud every night, I pick at my cuticles with fingernails and teeth. Skin peels back, and scabs give way to blood.

In the days of instant access—texting, pinging, GPS, satellites—it is not enough to know he’s on his way. It is not enough, even, to talk through the twenty

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