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The Butterfly Collector


The Garden Revised



The Butterfly Collector

Excerpt and images of handmade books from Susan Lin's Senior Honors Thesis "The Butterfly Collector" (2009). 


“Why do you always do that?” Mallory is standing in front of the sink next to mine, a thin stick of lip balm, uncapped, dangling between two fingers as if about to smoke it like a cigarette.

“What?” I always hated the lighting in the restroom. I don’t know why I bother to stop and look into the mirror there to begin with; my skin always looks washed-out and pale, my freckles dull and sparse.

“That—“ Mallory demonstrates with her free hand, “—cheek thing.” She re-caps the stick and purses her lips in the mirror. “There’s never anything there or anything.”

Every time I see my reflection—it doesn’t matter where, a mirror, the window, a doorknob—the first thing I do is run my fingertips down the side of my face lightly across my left cheek. One quick, fluid motion disguised as a nervous tic. I never noticed it myself before, but from now on, I become hyperaware of the action.

I feel the blood rushing to my ears before the color even shows and try to hide it by whipping my head to right, away from her, letting my hair fly in all directions before falling across my cheeks.

Someone exits one of the stalls up front. The door swings open with force, and I look in the mirror at the girl coming toward us. 

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Susan graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English - Creative Writing and a minor in Studio Art. She constructed her books during the 2009 Writers and Their Regions retreat. 


The Garden (Revised)

By David Tucker, Writers & Their Regions 2009

When I was a child, I watched

my Father kill a copperhead


snake that threatened my sister.  It flexed

its glistening scales, slick with temptation,


and my sister, too young to see danger

in beauty, laughed and reached to take 


what was offered.  I remember my Father

pulling her back, holding her, naming


the good and the ungood, then taking

up a rusted shovel and smashing the snake's


pennied head into the sacred ground.