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There is No Word for a Mother who has Lost a Child | Cathy Ulrich

The mother comes back to the empty house, hollowed and aching. There has been a deer inside since she was gone. She can still feel the mothwing thrumble of its flickering heart. The mother opens doors, turns on lights, sees ghost deer-tracks, smells wild-fur scent. The mother goes looking through the empty house for the deer, and she thinks it must be a small thing, fist-sized, open hand, and she clucks her tongue and calls whisper-soft, deer, deer, deer or maybe dear, dear, dear, and nothing tiptoe-creaks out of the shadows, and nothing replies. And in the end, she leaves the back door propped open, sits on the back step with her fisted hands prayer-pressed against her belly, and she is a mother yet and she is a mother still, and listens for the sound of deer-steps in the slow-fading night.


Once, a snake got into Cathy Ulrich's house, but never a deer. Her work has been published in various journals, including Adroit, Citron Review and Mineral Lit Mag.

You can find more from Cathy:

Twitter handle: @loki_writes


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