July/Aug 2022 • Vol. XLIV No. 4 Fiction |

Bitter Waters

The goose lands with a thud, such heft buried beneath its downy feathers that the old truck gives a bounce, jostling the doctor from her stupor. The huge bird eyes her sideways through the lines of frost on the windshield. Breathe, it seems to say. For twenty minutes she’s been sitting behind this wheel, breath clouding in front of her, snow piling on ice on the hood. Already, as every morning, she has slid beneath the chassis, lifted the hood, peered into the exhaust pipe, the gas tank, the rusted bed. No telltale wires, no conspicuous rags, no crouching strangers lying in wait. Her first patient will be at the clinic in an hour, and she’ll need at least half that to negotiate the gravel road into town. Still, she cannot seem to raise the key to meet the ignition. A thousand mornings just like this one—what’s the problem? And as if on cue, she feels a sharp twinge in her belly, senses the tenderness of her breasts as they brush against the sweater beneath her parka.

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Photo of Amy Katherine Talcott

Amy Katherine Talcott is a writer and editor based out of Livingston, Montana. This is her first published short story.

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The goose lands with a thud, such heft buried beneath its downy feathers that the old truck gives a bounce, jostling the doctor from her stupor. The huge bird eyes […]

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