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Flash Review: Tiff Holland’s Betty Superman Soars

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Winner
Rose Metal Press
Short Short Chapbook Contest

With an introduction by contest judge Kim Chinquee

Paperback, 44 pages, letterpressed covers
August 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9846166-2-6
$12.00

It begins with what she wears, what she says, what she calls my friends, what she likes, what she does, how she is now— and it ends at a gas station, with forgotten buttons to push, things to go back for. In between, there are things like this:

She pushes used tissues into the trash bag that hangs from the lighter nub, then grabs fresh tissues from a box on the floor and shoves them into her bra. I know for a fact that at any given moment the bra is home to several tissues, her asthma inhaler, roughly thirty dollars in cash and one or two hard candies. I imagine her loading it up in the mornings the way my husband loads his pockets.

And this:

Mom's not all the way in the car when she asks if she ever told me she had her pee-hole stretched.

And this:

When he threatens to leave she tells him: put the mailbox key on the table. She doesn't care anymore. She spends her days watching Desperate Housewives, cackling. She only goes out when Three is at work. That way she doesn't have to worry.

It actually begins here: This book is dedicated to my mother, Polly. But one imagines it beginning long before Tiff Holland wrote that dedication—and that journey from some far-off moment to that one, of Tiff Holland writing the dedication that begins Betty Superman is also part of this remarkable collection. It finds humor and humanity in places that will surprise you; it will make you want to seek out Tiff Holland and say something to her that they haven't yet invented the words to express.

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