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“Jen Michalski’s second novel is an intense emotional commitment, but a worthwhile one.” – Ploughshares


“Jen is an astonishingly sensitive writer.” – HTML Giant


“Jen Michalski excels in subtlety that is made possible by her nuanced understanding of voice.” – The Rumpus


“Jen is a writerly heavyweight.” – Nate Brown, American Short Fiction


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This is one of those flash pieces that never quite worked out for me. Maybe it will someday. I wrote it from the perspective of an aunt who passed away. Maybe it would work better as a slightly longer piece.


March 1969
When you were ready to come, Lisa, it was so early. March. In the living room I held you in my stomach as your father put Karen’s coat on Steve, Steve’s coat on Karen.

September 1973
I was taking you kids. You were shorter than broomsticks, almost as thin. Your father grabbed my arm, the one with the keys, the suitcase, and I felt it snap, its will broken.

July 2008
He mentioned our fiftieth anniversary to you, six months away. I don’t know what I’d do if your mother died first, he said. I rolled a straw wrapper around my finger, watched it fill with blood.

September 2008
My sister has made lasagna, fried chicken, for the family, priest. She urges you, your father, to eat. It's what your mother would have wanted, she says. When they leave, you will throw it all away, drink only coffee, hand on your stomach, feeling your pulse and hunger.