Always the Right Time
When my friend’s three-year-old daughter asks me where my baby is, she reminds me of the ladies at the nail salon who ask the same each time I visit. They are fortune tellers, surveying my limp toes, my prepared statements, as misshapen mountains of dead skin form below my feet: graduate school took years, a lover’s death fucked me up. I hope my words prove no less cursory than theirs, but as they stroll between stations, exchanging polishes and words in Vietnamese, I imagine they’re saying that I’m infertile, a woman married sixteen years, a shrunken ovary. I’ve wondered, pretended even, my nephew my own, refrained from correcting when a waiter’s asked if “my son” would like crayons. Or now, when my friend’s daughter sits on my lap, loops her fingers into my bracelets, I kind of want her to get stuck. But she doesn’t seem to remember her question, just jumps off to dance lopsided circles and circles away from me.
Amy Lerman is a Residential Faculty member in the Mesa Community College English Department. Though her research interests focus on twentieth-century literature and pop culture, she has recently started taking poetry classes and attempting creative work.