July/Aug 2021 • Vol. XLIII No. 4 |

An Excerpt from “Sentries”

MaBeulah arrived first, all bustle and bags and hatboxes. The boys and I kept moving all that day, me slowed slightly by the hurt I was nursing. There’d been talk of the guest room—which largely stored neglected toys and photo albums and things we’d meant to donate—being mine when I was old enough, so I could have space from my brothers and all the gas leaving them and their need to shut me out of the room we shared. And now, with MaBeulah moving in, I’d have to wait, possibly forever. When I’d complained of this unfairness to my parents, Daddy asked if I preferred that we put MaBeulah on the porch instead, at her age, with nothing but a spring night to keep her warm and neighbors strolling by, wondering how he’d raised such selfish children as to put their great-aunt out. I said that I did not. The first doll showed up not much later, perhaps a week after MaBeulah had us waking up earlier and eating meals at set times—had my brothers and I answering the phone, Harr

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Kelsey Norris
Kelsey Norris is a writer from Alabama. She earned an MFA from Vanderbilt University and her work has been published in Oxford American online and Nashville Review. This is her first published book review.


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