A tiny piece of slate blue peeked from behind an open zigzag of dense gray cloud bank hovering over the gloom of a chilled-off afternoon. The dainty slice reminded the young woman of a lightning-shaped necklace her mother wore in memoriam to Elvis, a favorite artist of her youth, a time she felt most alive, before she had babies and responsibilities of making their home in her husband’s absence.

“Maybe Momma’s looking down from heaven right now and reminding me to ‘take care of business,’ sweetheart, since you got no daddy either” she whispered to the baby in her arms. He whimpered and rustled restlessly at the sound of her voice, fighting sleep. Tiny ankles wrinkled with fat kicked the air like a shrunken little Michelin man.

She hugged her son tighter and instinctively rocked her body back and forth to sooth him. “Hush, now. Don’t wake up … Granny’s smiling down on us right now. I just wish she coulda known you longer.”

image: Stephen Rahn


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