May/June 2015 • Vol. XXXVII No. 3 Fiction |

All the Sons of Cain

After they find out where she lives, they start coming every week, sometimes every day. Wednesday morning they come especially early, waking her. R's mother stays in bed, yearning for coffee and the bathroom, but fearful of nearing the window. She knows what she'll see below: her son's scrawny face imprinted on cheap poster board, hoisted on stave and dowel by protesters who misspell his name. Sometimes they use him to protest another prisoner trade, sometimes to support it; sometimes to urge settlements, other times to condemn those already built; to push for a two-state solution or to warn against it. Once they were protesting a tax, another time something to do with toilets. R's mother doesn't want to know what they're using her son for today. Reconciliation and revenge. Hostages and prisoners. Murderers and soldiers. It all sounds the same from up here. She turns to the wall and pulls the blanket over her shoulder. Retired from her job as a nurse, she has nothing to do but t

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