by Dawn Abeita

The baby ran away. The baby was always running away. Like a leaf, he would skitter off down the gutter. And so she was left to leave affairs mid-stride, to dash half bent, scuttling crab-like after, trying to catch a hand. She was a mean, mean mommy, yelling in the street. She would like, mostly, to be a cruel mommy and duct tape the little bugger to a chair. She wished she'd never had him, wished she'd always have him, wished she'd never married, wished she could be alone with her husband, wished to point to pregnant women and cover her mouth in horror, wished to lie still in a chamomile field, though she supposed that would be as prickly as everything else. She put herself to sleep, escaping into daydreams then slipping down that slide into slumber, veering from being a bikini on a beach trifling with the lifeguard to being caught in an undertow, or like the dream she had of being lectured by a tuxedoed waiter on proper nail grooming. "So," she was saying, when the baby took off again, flying to the door of the coffee shop, impossibly arriving just as the hipster in his skinny jeans was entering and so escaping outside with her hot behind. But then he ran so fast, his baby legs scissoring the air like a cartoon's blurred wheel of speed until he was lifted into the sky, running still higher and higher, and she considered not following, she thought of it, but at the last available second, she grabbed his heel and, peddling her own airborne feet, they went on up, together, not quite to the clouds, not quite.

DAWN ABEITA has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and the Vermont Studio Center, and earned an MFA from Warren Wilson College. Other pieces of hers have appeared in a number of literary journals, including American Fiction, Fiction Weekly, and PotomacShe lives in Atlanta, Ga. where it only sometimes snows.


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Passionately Ran, Compassionately Fed.


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