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April 2013, vol 9, no 1

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Claire Everett


I need it to also be a noun. The way it is with that word they use for the others. Or is that the preserve of the hail and hearty, the twinkle in her father’s eye, the apple of his mother’s? the one who is hauled, plump, pink and bawling, onto the soft belly of this dear life? or the one with the scrunched-up face and clenched fists who comes out hollering that she’s been wrenched too soon from her dark well of bliss? and even the one who, for many a day, seems to be not made for this world, too feeble to cry or breathe for himself, hanging on like a fruit fly in gossamer?

I need it to be a noun because I want to remember that you were, not what you were; because I kept my eyes shut tight when they implored me to open them; because I couldn’t look at you, let alone hold you; because after they’d spirited you away and cleaned me up, I heard one of them say, “She was pretty . . .for an infant of this type”.

frosted leaves . . .
wishing I’d had the ink-print
of my stillborn’s foot