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Amy L. Clark


28 February 2008
Vol. 7, No. 4
fiction, short story

Aisha is thirty-one years old and seventeen weeks along. She has brought a copy of Crime and Punishment to the Laundromat with her, but she cannot concentrate on the story, keeps getting lost in the long, unfamiliar names. She sits, watching her clothes spin, the silk arm of her favorite, fading blouse cascading down over a tangle of jeans and underwear. She has just this week had to retire most of her regular pants, which she had long been tugging down to her pelvic bone, for maternity wear. And watching her old clothes in the dryer gives her an overwhelming sense of futility. She thinks she would like to go into labor now. She would like to push the little pink thing out of her body and into the world, even if it were to be born a helpless pound and a half. Moments like these, she thinks it is more likely that the baby could survive in a fluorescent NICU than in her agonized and frustrated body. She feels as if the baby has stretched her, made her skin literally too thin.

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