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Unable to reach the sink, I stood inches from the top. I couldn’t see the whole body, just the curves. My mother, with her hands on a pink–grey neck, wept. She didn’t say anything, turning on the tap. She brushed her hair behind her ears and scrubbed all the down that wasn’t singed off its body.

My father cleaned factory floors at night, raised money for a small, now-defunct college during the workweek, distributed the Omaha World-Herald with my mother and siblings, and painted houses when the weather was good. When he wasn’t paid in cash, he accepted frozen birds that still had buckshot in them. My mother cooked, and we ate.

I never felt hunger at home. My mother had the gift of multiplication like Strega Nona or Mickey Mouse or Jesus. Continue reading “Hunger”