Old Wives’ Tales

by | Aug 10, 2021 | Fiction, Issue Twenty Two

I rock and the baby’s weeping is a Möbius strip of anguish. Hot moonlight makes squares on the floor. My hands are slick with sweat and Jeremiah’s white t-shirt is damp. Once I walked with him, I touched his nose, I sang a song about an inchworm measuring marigolds, but six months on my eyes are red and dry. Hot moonlight makes squares on the floor. Nana used to say, “Hawks steal babies. Not one. Not two. If you ever get three, though…” Once I cooed to him, I stroked his back, I read him a story about a toad who ate cookies but six months on my eyes are red and dry. A feathery shadow falls across the squares of moonlight and rests there. Nana used to say, “Hawks steal babies. It happened to my neighbour, they came in the night.” As if he can sense the shadow, Jeremiah flings his arms wide, flapping, squirming. A second shadow falls across the squares of moonlight and rests there. A third shadow falls, settles next to the others, and they all peer in at me, at Jeremiah. As if he can sense the danger, Jeremiah kicks his feet heart, thumping, arching his back. “The hawks steal the baby and leave only a husk,” Nana said. The three shadows peer in at me, at Jeremiah. My hands are so slick. “The hawks steal the baby and no one believes they did it,” Nana said. My hands are slick with sweat and Jeremiah’s white t-shirt is damp. My hands are so slick. I rock and my weeping is a Möbius strip of anguish.

The End

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