Roxane Gay

She has a tic that is like but not quite Tourette's. She likes to repeat the phrase little baby over and over with different vocal inflections, and without rhyme or reason. It began as a way of teasing her little brother, though he was well into his 20s when she first began. Now, she says it because she likes the way the words sound together and she likes the way the phrase reminds her of tiny babies that smell sweet, can fit in her pocket and have soft skulls.




My younger brother is my roommate. I call him little baby approximately 97 times a day. He, of course, thinks I'm insane. One day, when he told me that, I realized that reciting little baby had become something I didn't even notice. The next logical step was to write a little thing about it. Then I taped it on his bedroom door. He liked that. Photographic evidence is available.