Form and Line

by Lauren Becker

His fingers trace my bruises, noting their contrary colors—purple, green, jaundice yellow—for later when he paints. My body does not acknowledge its height, which came to me late in a nervous puberty and makes me graceless. His recollection rejects his, dramatic in its abrupt halt as it was in its early surge.

We startle at photos. We get our drinks quickly and sit on couches or floors at parties.

I drink coffee with his mother. We sit on her porch swing, my legs stretched to their full length, large feet pushing the swing slightly from time to time. She tells me again of how he was her biggest, now small, how her pelvis still aches. I resent the implied apology.

At home, he paints in contused colors, great splashes filling the canvas. When we lie together, faces aligned, we are a horizon.

Lauren Becker is editor of Corium Magazine. Her work has appeared in numerous print and online journals, including Tin House, American Short Fiction, Wigleaf, and The Rumpus. Her book of short fiction, If I Would Leave Myself Behind, was published by Curbside Splendor in June of 2014.

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “Form and Line”?

I’m not sure of the origin, because I wrote the first iteration of the story several years ago. I’ve been somewhat blocked for new ideas, so I mined my “Unfinished” folder for pieces that had potential, which I hadn’t completed or couldn’t figure out endings for, or just didn’t feel were good enough. This was one that somehow got set aside. I trimmed it to its essence, changed some language, and let the story come through in a way I couldn’t when I started it. It gave me the sense that I had made some progress in my writing, and I really needed that.


Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

Matter Press recently released titles from Meg Boscov, Abby Frucht, Robert McBrearty, Tori Bond, Kathy Fish, and Christopher Allen. Click here.

Matter Press is now offering private flash fiction workshops and critiques of flash fiction collections here.


Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions are now open. The reading period for standard submissions closes again December 15, 2023. Submit here.


11/27 • Michael Mark
12/04 • Helen Beer
12/11 • Rachel Rodman
12/18 • Betsy Robinson
12/25 • Trish Hopkinson
12/31 • Kim Chinquee
01/01 • Jill Michelle