As Close to Smiling as You Can Get by KJ Shinkle
37 pages. Tape-bound.
Dina and Darlene Tunnel are conjoined twins. Or they were conjoined twins. Ischiopagal. Cephalopagal. Thoraco-omphalopagal. Conjoined twins now separated, but not separate. Never fully separate. Here, in seventeen short pieces, Katie Jean Shinkle traces the history of these sisters and their bodies—death, arson, sexual discovery, the neighbor lady’s Last Supper tapestry. “We are living inside a snow globe,” Darlene says. At once voyeuristic and exhibitionistic, saga and record, As Close to Smiling As You Can Get limns the border of self-concern between two unruly selves.
Katie Jean Shinkle is the author of one novella, The Show Must Go On (Blue Square Press), and four chapbooks. She is a doctoral candidate in creative writing at the University of Denver.