Erin Stalcup is the author of the story collection And Yet It Moves and the novel Every Living Species. This piece is the opening chapter of her forthcoming novel, Keen (Gold Wake Press, January 2022). Her fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Sun, Monkeybicycle, and elsewhere, and her creative nonfiction about her teaching career was listed as a Notable Essay in The Best American Essays 2016. Erin received her MFA from Warren Wilson College’s Program for Writers, and has taught in community colleges, universities, prisons, and MFA programs. Erin is a co-founder of Waxwing (www.waxwingmag.org), and the Editor of Hunger Mountain. You can read and hear more of her work at erinstalcup.xyz.