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The Short Form

“North Country”

Roxane Gay


I rented my new home—a former dry-cleaning business converted into an apartment—over the phone. There are no windows, save for the one in the front door. The apartment, I thought, as I walked from room to room when I moved in, was like a jail cell. I had been sentenced. My new landlady, an octogenarian Italian who ran the dry cleaner's for more than thirty years, gasped when she met me. “You didn't sound like a colored girl on the phone,” she said. I said, “I get that a lot.”

We read it in Best American Short Stories 2012.

Originally published in Hobart, Issue 12.