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Story by Elizabeth Deanna Morris Lakes (Read author interview) March 21, 2016

Art by Ben Seidelman

If the baby is dead, its name has no consequence. Name the baby some mix of references to your childhood favorites: Zelda Ozma, Legolas Almanzo, Lucas Leia. You can mix genders. The baby is dead; there is no consequence of gender. Name the baby after your favorite animal: Peregrine Falcon. Pippin for short, refer to the baby only as Pippin. Pippin will never care; Pippin is dead and will never have to decide between telling schoolmates that the name comes from a bird of prey or telling them it’s from a hobbit. Or you could try a play on words! Ada Clementine. Ate a clementine. Both of your grandmothers’ names, unusable otherwise. You know that Clementine means mercy and Ada means noble: noble mercy. But you can say, “my baby loved clementines!” Which is hilarious, because your baby is dead and never ate a clementine. Will never eat a clementine. Except, in those middle months of the pregnancy, in winter, when you sat by the window and ate bags of clementines, knowing the little movements within you were unnameable.

About the Author

Elizabeth Deanna Morris Lakes was born in Harrisburg, PA and has a BA in Creative Writing from Susquehanna University and an MFA from George Mason University. She has appeared in cahoodaloodaling, Mom Egg Review, {Ex}tinguished & {Ex}tinct: An Anthology of Things That No Longer {Ex}ist, Whiskey Island, and OVS. She has chapbook, Patterning, from Corgi Snorkel Press.

About the Artist

Ben Seidelman is a photographer from Aurora, Illinois. Follow him on Flickr.

This story appeared in Issue Fifty-One of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Fifty-One

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