Nov/Dec 2020 • Vol. XLII No. 6 NonfictionNovember 1, 2020 |

From “Unaccompanied Minor”

Not the crime, but the getaway, what I remember. Running out of the living room, through the center foyer, out the kitchen door, then throwing myself on the cold marble backstairs of our apartment in 36 Gramercy Park, and sitting there awaiting my punishment. But when my father comes to discover me, he doesn’t shout, for once. He is concerned, perplexed, as though I am a patient referred to him with an undiagnosable disease. Why did I hit my baby brother without provocation. Why did I hit him so hard, his wailing flooded the eight rooms of our apartment, following me out the kitchen door and echoing up and down the staircase. I have no answer for my father other than what I dimly suspect and will not confess — that I hit my brother to get rid of him, to make him disappear — he who had stolen my parents’ attention from the moment he was born. Born frail, at that, and needing all the attention he was given. Now he is two. I am eight, old enough to sympathize with his

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Roger Rosenblatt
Roger Rosenblatt's most recent book is the novel, Thomas Murphy. He is the recipient of the 2015 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement.

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