Plan B


(not-quite-true, not-quite-false)

Do you dream about her still, the way that I do?

Her red-gold hair in ringlets, those brown eyes a stark surprise above paleness and freckles, the most lasting contribution my family could have offered our child beyond the genes for addiction and manic depression.

Hard to remember, hard to forget.

Maybe today she would have been three. Past the “no! no! no!” of the Terrible Twos. Walking, talking, pulling your books from the shelves. Opening them, pretending to read. Or like you, an early reader and on to Tolkien by age nine.

You watched me sweat under the sun, break weeds loose from the tilled earth.

Flesh of our flesh, blood of our blood.

It wasn’t the right time. Maybe like falling in love, it is never the right time for a child, but the right time for loving.

I washed my hands in the shop sink after, used the scrub brush to edge out those last layers of soil embedded beneath my fingernails.


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