We say he’s my brother, but that is a lie. Fourteen,

yet I grew him inside of me. Now in Big Ugly,


it’s December-cold. My jacket is thin, streaked hair

uncombed, but, since momma says fresh air is


good, I have carried him out. He’s warm in

his blanket, warm against my chest. Yes, though


I know how he got in me, I will never tell.

There’s black in my nails from digging potatoes


or from diaper changing. So what? For me, no

cross-country, no art, no 8th grade swing dance.


I walk far and farther, will leave him in the manger

at the creekside church. He does not want to


be my brother, and I do not want one more boy in

the house. “Well…goodbye,” I tell him. “Have


a real good life, dude.” Then his eyes snap open. Then

he grabs hold of my scuzzy hair and will not let go.