Summer 1994 • Vol. XVI No. 3 Fiction |

Woods

After the shootout, those of us who were still alive went in all directions, and though Claire was my favorite of the mothers, I had to go with Blanche who said I was hers, something I had sort of known all along. We changed our names--which was nothing new--and moved from town to town and sometimes she told me to call her not "mother" or "Mom" but "aunt." Blanche always made friends and found some kind of work to do and she kissed me and hugged me before tucking me in at night so I knew I'd been lucky in the mother I ended up with, to make up for being so unlucky, my childhood disrupted and all. That's why when the police caught up with us and put me in foster care, the only good to come of it in my view was I got to take back my first, original, or at least my favorite name. Leah. Even now, at almost thirty, I find myself writing it over and over on paper sometimes, like an adolescent, or tracing the four letters out on tabletops or even in the air.   I know now about

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