Devil’s Lake

Spring 2017 Issue

Ashley Olsen: Confessions

We’d been dating for nearly a year when he began telling me his clients’ secrets. “No names,” he said. But I didn’t follow sports anyway, so his clients’ perversions were nothing to me but stories. They ran the gambit: incest, underage girls, orgies. It’s one thing to know these things happen; it’s another to tie it to an experience, to some person who knows the person you know. The one that stood out most was the story of a man who grew up on a farm and fell in love with his neighbor’s goat. He told me the man had enough sense not to fuck the goat, but still thought of it daily, whenever he needed comfort, and he married a girl with cropped hair so that when he was inside her he could run his fingers over the crown of her head and think of the goat’s mohair, the way it bent and sprung up again beneath his hands. The man I was dating asked me what I thought of this. “He sounds unstable,” I answered. “We can’t help who we love,” he replied. Of course, now I realize what he meant was that we can’t help who we don’t love.

a photo of the author, Ashley Olsen ASHLEY OLSEN lives in Los Angeles. She received her BA from UCLA and is currently completing her MFA in Fiction at Bennington College. This is her first publication in a literary journal. More from this issue >