Break & Survive: On Meghan McClure’s ‘Portrait of a Body in Wreckages’

Melissa Grunow
Oct 8, 2018 · 4 min read

McClure’s fragmented essay chapbook explores in lyrical prose the ways in which our bodies break, fail, overcome, and survive.

Image: Newfound.

“Can I convince you to see this as a gift? All this ugliness pieced together is for you. It is a body, wrecked and then stitched together with words. Feel free to disassemble it, rearrange it, make it yours.”

(p. 15)

“I leave parts of my body everywhere. This is not a metaphor. Skin cells, fingernails, important bacteria, saliva, piss.


I am struggling to find a body in all these pieces. I want to recognize something that is floating on the surface as a sign that not all is lost”

(p. 11)

“If I could be a crack in the world I would split open and spill. I want to find a way to be cells dividing under a microscope, your eye behind the lens.”

(p. 28)

MELISSA GRUNOW is the author of Realizing River City (Tumbleweed Books, 2016) and I Don’t Belong Here (New Meridian Arts Press, 2018). Her work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, River Teeth, The Nervous Breakdown, New Plains Review, Blue Lyra Review, and elsewhere. Find her at her website.

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