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started stacking them in the closet by size, looking for some order in counting, in the cadence of numbers. My friend reached for my hand and placed it on her stomach. Her face had changed, like a dam breaking, the hard edges washed away. The sweep of a small heel or elbow pushed against my fingers. A gentle pressure, the side of a rounded stone. I remembered hearing the baby’s heartbeat on her home ultrasound machine, fast, a beat like hummingbirds’ wings. My own heart hammered. I wanted to tell them that it would be all right. I wanted to tell them you do what you can. I fled my friends’ diaper-strewn apartment and went to my father’s house to remember I was still a daughter. In the morning, I woke to my father banging around in the kitchen, unpacking grocery bags and swinging cupboard doors. He had already gone to the store and set out cups and plates and silverware while I was asleep. I sat cross-legged at the kitchen table in my pajamas. “Good morning. Do you want a grapefruit?” he asked, even though I could see he was already cutting into one. I was thinking about diapers again, so much to do for one tiny thing, that miniature heel in the palm of my hand. Everything would not be pink and soft and good. So many hard ways to love her—driving across the state in the middle of the night so she will fall asleep in her carseat; cutting out a splinter while she cries; getting her a white limo for prom; hiding your anger and worry and fear when she is almost arrested for drunk driving; trying to save her from all things sharp and hurtful, forgiving yourself when you can’t; letting go, holding on—my father set a bowl in front of me. I am twenty-four years old and my father had cut my grapefruit into seven careful sections. He cleaned the knife and set it gently in a drawer. Kolongowski 

Revolution House Magazine Volume 2.1

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