The kind you’re born with, the kind you choose, the kind that teach Catholic school
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Louis E. Bourgeois’s latest book, a collection of aphorisms titled Hosanna, is forthcoming from Xenos Books. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, where he is editor and chief director of VOX Press, a publisher of avant-garde writing. He is engaged to artist and songwriter Betsy Chapman and father to six-year-old goddess Simone.
I didn’t want to go, but my fiancée, Cora, insisted it would be good for me. She and I hadn’t been apart for more than a few hours at a time since I’d left the hospital, where my left arm had been removed after a car accident. Now I was to spend the weekend at a crippled-children’s camp.
When I was six, my mother finally got tired of the beatings and left my father for good. I remember the final blow: I was standing outside, looking through the front-door window at my father mercilessly pounding my mother’s face into the checked tile floor of our run-down two-bedroom house on the outskirts of Slidell, Louisiana.
I was twenty-one years old and taking freshman composition, because I’d gotten a late start in college. I probably wouldn’t have gone to college at all if I hadn’t lost my left arm in a car accident at the age of nineteen.
It was hot and I wanted to die, in a way. I was tired of being twenty-five years old and festering as an undergraduate at one of the largest cow colleges in the deep South.