flips through 101 Cookie Recipes, the book he chose at the yard sale where he asked to stop on the way back from the hospital where he recovered from his rape and where I had been the week before, emerging with one kidney. We are in our regular clothes, sutures hidden in our sweats and t-shirts as we pick through other people’s lives-- pans, salad bowls ringed with old oil, shoes missing laces, the full-color cookbook. Mint layer bars or lemon ginger snaps, twisted caramel peanut butter, dough heavy with apples or toffee, dropped by the spoonful or spread into pans. He cannot decide which treat to make, folds over nearly each page, corner after corner bent, agonizing over what to want. The recipes are caked in someone else’s prints, smears of icing and ancient chocolate stains that to my son twitch alive on the page-- here, pick me, this one. Each unready cookie fingertip-close, raw on the palm. We huddle next to each other, unsure of what has ever belonged to us.
-- Emily Franklin is the author of numerous novels. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the London Sunday Times, The Cincinnati Review, The Rumpus, DIAGRAM, Mississippi Review, Lunch Ticket, New Ohio Review, Passages North, North Dakota Review, Monkeybicycle, and The Chattahoochee Review among other places as well as featured and read aloud on National Public Radio, and named notable by the Association of Jewish Libraries. She recently completed her first poetry collection.