Winter 2009 • Vol. XXXI No. 1 2008 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest |

Afterbirth

Like loons we travel underwater great distances, to surface next to each other …No matter where you are or who you're near, we come up for air together. —Anne Michaels, "Sublimation," Miner's Pond She took off her arm to bathe. This is Sarah's good arm, she said to her left arm. This, she said holding the rubber prosthetic with her left hand, is Sarah's bad arm. We had laughed those nights, standing naked on our wooden stools in front of the bathroom counter. We sang into her detached arm like a microphone. We showed each other identical mouths full of toothpaste. Mom brushed our identical shoulder-length blonde hair. Scrubbed our identical cheeks. But I held the shampoo in the bathtub. I held the towels. I pulled her hair back with both of my good hands when she got stomach flu each winter. I peeled her fruit. I tied her shoes. I zipped up her prom dress. I kicked Ben Crumley in the crotch when he said his mom had made him invite her, that a girl with one arm

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Megan Mayhew Bergman's first collection, Birds of a Lesser Paradise, was published by Scribner, and was a Barnes and Noble Discover Pick and Huffington Post Best Book of 2012. Scribner will also publish her next collection, Almost Famous Women, and a novel in 2015.

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