Still

Namrata Verghese

Your brother: born five pounds six ounces, dark-eyed, curly-haired, and dead.
There was nothing anyone could do, the doctors say. No one is to blame—not
your mother for drinking wine, not your father for punching her stomach. Your
brother: lungs like ripped balloons. In the scan of your mother’s womb, darkness
blooms like dry roses. Your father holds her hand, but too much space yawns
between them. Clinical. Obligatory. The opposite of sex. For the first time in
the car mirror on the way home, you see yourself as an only child. A survivor.
You think you see his arm around her, but he’s just preparing to move in reverse.

Namrata Verghese is an undergraduate and Robert W. Woodruff Scholar at Emory University, studying Creative Writing and Psychology/Linguistics. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Nimrod International Journal, World Literature Today, PRISM international, and elsewhere. Her debut short story collection, Hyphenated, is forthcoming from Speaking Tiger Books in 2019.