Debora Kuan is the author of two poetry collections, XING and Lunch Portraits, which is forthcoming from Brooklyn Arts Press this fall. She recently completed a Macdowell residency for fiction, and has also written art criticism for Artforum, Art in America, Modern Painters, and Paper Monument. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.
The boy had come to the greet room, as it was called, seemingly by himself. He had a gift: a powder-pink stuffed octopus, whose tentacles were not very tentacular at all, but rather short and squareeight pillows that were sewn directly under its plush round head.
Like many people of talent, I was discovered in a restaurant at a very young age. I was ten, maybe eleven. My mother had just slapped me across my mouth for calling my dad “a dummy,” and I was crying.