Two hours after reporting to operating room nine, Drew stood, gowned, gloved and angry, across the table from Dr. Owen Bates. Patients and the medical board called him Dr. Bates, but everyone else called him the Old Bastard, or OB for short.
The cat meows. I like to imagine she was once gainfully employed in the cat world, as a college professor or a medical doctor. When she fell on hard times, she became depressed, and rightfully so.
Two weekends after Myra’s old neighbors vacated the trailer next to hers, this man and his bony brown Lab pulled in with all his furniture tied down in the bed of his pickup.
I had arrived to the hospital in labor, and waddled into the emergency room like I was about to claim a lottery prize. Instead, I got Claudia in my room. My baby Liam died before I delivered him.
My brother killed himself one Saturday morning, just to spite my mother.
At thirty-six she has never had a man fall asleep with his head on her shoulder. She has never been touched before. Not like that. Not by a man. Or a woman.
A curly-haired man in a black suit stood on a hilltop, holding hands with a woman who floated above him wearing a dress the color of grape juice.
“That’s Marc Chagall and me.”
He sits out there in his rowboat, mouth half open, the Chicago skyline rising and falling behind him. I walk on my knees though the water. Inching closer, slipping farther out into the lake.
What he was kicking, with a ferocity more like assault than play, was a small peach basket.
My father was disappointed by my inability to ride a two-wheeler by the age of six. He never said so directly, but I could tell.