1. She marries. An expensive affair with live little people on top of an eight foot cake. The music is a jazzhiphopclassical fusion combo whose leader is screwing the groom’s mother. The groom is the last to arrive. When he does arrive, his breath is cover-up minty. She’s never known it any other way.

2. She applies for Medicare. Her bones make noise these days. Third husband just left her. When she fills out the application, she is glad she didn’t take his last name. His ass dent is still in the easy chair. That’s easier to get rid of than a name.

3. Her father’s sperm meets her mother’s egg. This was not a well-thought-out meeting. No one set up chairs for this meeting or ordered snacks. This was a what’s your sign and what the hell and I will never see you again kind of thing.

4. She is four. Doctor’s office and her foster parents know nothing about her history. Doorstep baby, they tell the doctor. Doctor checks her eyes and nose and snaps the chart shut. Doorstep babies are strong, he says. Doorstep babies do fine.

5. She drives her second husband into the a wall. Out for an afternoon, but they end up arguing about how she saw his mother out with a bandleader. No, the second husband says. That wasn’t me. That was your third husband. She notices a loaf of bread moving on a nearby doorstep. She loses control of the car.

6. It’s a calm day at the office. She is sitting across from Van. Van, her first husband, though she doesn’t know it yet. He gives her a rose. To make up for whole doorstep thing. She’s about to ask how he knows when she gets trapped in the ocean of his eyes(!)

7. Doorstep baby on a winter’s night. Wrapped in a blue blanket. Note safety-pinned and scrawled. Please take care of my baby. I was drunk and I never saw the father again. Hungry old woman passing by thinks she is a loaf of bread, picks her up and tries to eat her. Drops her when she starts to squall. Almost gets run over by an angry woman driving into a wall.

8. When she dies, there is no funeral. No one was left. Not her parents, not her fosters, not the three husbands, not the doctor. She dies in a winter storm. The cold hitting her like a sperm meeting an egg, like a doctor snapping closed a chart, like an angry woman driving into a wall. Right there on the doorstep. A hungry old woman passing by.

Francine Witte

Francine Witte

Francine Witte is a poet, flash fiction writer, blogger, reviewer, and photographer. Her poetry collection, Cafe Crazy is forthcoming from Kelsay Books. She lives in NYC.
Francine Witte

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