Amy Collini
Definitions

Amy Collini - Definitions

Creative Nonfiction
Amy Collini’s essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Slice, Indiana Review, Soundings Review, Pithead Chapel, Rappahannock Review, Ilanot Review,… Read more »
Rachel Jamison Webster
Relating to Time

Rachel Jamison Webster - Relating to Time

Creative Nonfiction
Rachel Jamison Webster is a Professor of Poetry at Northwestern University and author of the full-length collections of poetry, September… Read more »

Definitions

Amy Collini

Karyotin: the substance of chromosomes, stainable with basic dyes

I am fourteen when I go to the national spelling bee in Washington, D.C. Sponsoring newspapers pay the expenses of each speller and their official escort; I am one of only two, out of 222, who choose their father instead of their mother as escort.

This is how I remember my downfall at the national bee: I am sitting in the Comfort Room, having just been escorted off stage after misspelling “karyotin” in the third round. I am slumped into a navy blue armchair, my face wet with tears, my enormous glasses sliding down my nose. The Comfort Room is a transitional space located just off the stage, and the reporters that follow each speller are denied entrance; only family is allowed contact with fallen spellers. A galvanized tub full of sugary carbonated drinks on ice stands in the corner; my little brother helps himself to a can and slurps quickly while no one is paying attention. After two previous bees, this is my first loss, and I feel incapable of even the slightest movement. My brother makes an attempt at hugging me before I collapse in the chair, but after… Read more »